Managing Up: 7 Tips to Get What You Need From Your Manager
We believe that managers actually need to manage their major-gifts officers (MGOs). Sadly, the state of management in the nonprofit sector is sorely lacking. It's just very rare to come across a good manager who really knows how to develop people.
Now, I want to state up front, we know some incredible managers as well. People who have dedicated themselves to really developing others and have a heart to make sure the people they manage do great things. It's just they are few and far between.
Worse than that, we find that many managers actually get in the way of getting things done. In fact, ever since we have started this blog, we get tons of communication from MGOs and other development professionals lamenting how their managers get in the way of really serving their donors.
This is very sad. But, unfortunately, it doesn't surprise us. So, seeing that both Richard and I are activators, we most always counsel folks like this:
- Either you wait around for five years and be frustrated until the manager moves on … or …
- You figure out strategies to "get things done" now without the manager blocking you.
- You move to another job.
In other words, manage up, or tell your manager what he or she needs to do in order for you to get what you need done, done. Don't sit around waiting for your manager to, all of a sudden, see the light and actually start to manage. If you are not getting what you want, then you need to take the initiative yourself.
Here are seven tips for you on how to do this so that you can get what you need and serve your donors well in spite of a bad manager.
1. Proactively schedule update meetings
I know your manager doesn't have time to supervise your work. He or she is involved in all the bureaucracy of the workplace, and you get left out. You deserve someone looking out for how you are doing and giving you feedback. If you are not getting it from your manager, ask for it. Ask your manager to sit down with you every week to go over your activities. Then sit down with her every month to go over your revenue goals. You need accountability, and you may just have to ask for it. Great MGOs do this.
If you like baseball, tennis, golf, Gregorian chant, jazz, rock, good wine and deep conversation, then you’ll like to hang out with Jeff.
If you are passionate about fundraising, Jeff will inspire you to be a true “broker of love” for your donors, helping you bring together a donor’s desire to change the world and the world’s greatest needs. Jeff believes that if nonprofits truly want to grow and obtain more net revenue for their mission, it will come through creating, building and successfully managing major-gift programs. The Connections blog will give you inspiration and practical advice to help you succeed. Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and is senior partner of the Veritus Group.