The Case of the Major Gifts Fundraising Employee Who Didn’t Fit
A sad situation I observe very frequently is a major gifts manager whose primary skill set is major gifts but finds him- or herself in a management position where the up-line managers, even the CEO, are critical of his or her "lack of management ability."
Rather than celebrate the wonderful gift this person contributes to the success of the major gifts program, the manager or leader pecks away at this major gifts manager, almost on a daily basis, making him or her feel small rather than covering the management areas that slip a little under the person's care.
I remember one situation several years ago where the top leader called me into his office for a private conference on "what are we going to do with Ann (not her real name)? She just cannot manage!" This CEO was adamant that something needed to change right now. He was ready to toss out the good and loyal employee and just be done with it.
I listened for several minutes — seemed like an hour — as he ranted on about her clumsy handling of staff, how he can't get her to do a budget right, how she is not in touch with the numbers, and on and on and on.
Then there was a pause, and he turned to me and asked what I thought.
I started off by saying that good major gifts people are hard to find — very hard to find. Then I pointed out that this good lady had assembled some of the best major gifts officers (MGOs) I had seen in the industry. I told him that the numbers could be really good — the growth could be fantastic — and the ratios could be above industry standard if we could give this good lady some management support.
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.