Boundaries and Focus: The Frustrating Path Toward Success
Prior to us working with Ann, she had been part of a major-gifts management and strategy system that was broken and failing. The bureaucrat who was in charge of the program for this organization (and Ann) knew a lot about major gifts but practically nothing about managing a major-gifts program, the economics of major gifts and, just as important, how to constructively hold an MGO accountable to do the work she must do.
It was a disaster! In fact, as Jeff and I have looked at all the programs this person managed, they are in such a state of disrepair that it is hard to believe that management allowed the program to continue. But it did, and as a result, Ann suffered, as did many other MGOs.
No one called Ann to a higher place. No one told Ann what was expected. No one corrected or redirected Ann when she was off point or headed down the wrong path. No one encouraged Ann and told her what she was doing right.
And, therefore, no one saw the real Ann! And that is the real tragedy. No one saw the real Ann. Not even Ann herself. Why? Because what Ann needed was direction, accountability and focus. Ann needed boundaries — a clear view of what she was doing right, what was expected, what she needed to stop doing, etc.
That's what we provided Ann. And the real Ann emerged. The beautiful, productive, professional Ann. The Ann her former colleagues just cannot believe really exists. It is a wonderful thing to see.
Jeff and I operate this way in our relationship. We each contribute our strengths to each other and to the work we are committed to doing. That contribution is positive and encouraging. And it is also about accountability, redirection and truth telling. There are times Jeff wants to scream at me in frustration over a suggestion I have made. And there are times I want to whack him in the head for words of truth he has given to me about something I am doing.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.