The Importance of a Fundraising Coach
Growing up in West Virginia, I was blessed with a loving family that supported my endeavors. Whether I played sports or participated in various activities, like The Boy Scouts or church projects, I had a variety of coaches that influenced and supported me. Some of these individuals had the title coach, while others coached without the title. All of them shaped my thoughts, actions and future behaviors.
While being coached, I always thought of myself as a player coach. I knew I would not always be able to play, but I did realize I wanted to be some type of coach as I grew older. I wanted to make a difference and seek to motivate lives in a positive way. I wanted to return the favor of those that favored me.
Coaching helps people stay ready. The kind of readiness we are talking about goes beyond articulating visions or delegating accountabilities or tasks. It is about helping people develop their capacity to create new possibilities for themselves. The news article titled, “Coaches Have the Power to Inspire, Influence in Ways Parents Can’t,” notes that sport games are where athletes learn to compete in life.
The fields show players the necessity of teamwork and self-discipline. A coach can change a child’s perception of hard work, of competition and maybe of themselves. A belief in a coach is having faith in someone else to inspire potential in others. You can see the impact of a coach that molds one’s later life can begin at a young age.
In a video, Entrepreneur Network partners Chris Haddon and Jason Balin discuss the benefits of having a business coach. They feel a coach will push you to do things you likely would never do on your own. A coach can help you write and break down your goals and get you into the right mindset. A coach can also push you to think outside the box and take your aspirations to the next level in various future time frames.
According to The Bridgespan Group, numerous studies have shown that investment in high-impact leadership development can dramatically increase the odds of achieving or exceeding organizational goals. Coaching is a unique opportunity for leaders to meet regularly with someone whose only purpose is to help them to be more successful.
You should retain a coach when you desire to grow as a leader. If you are struggling but are eager to do a better job, a coach can be ideal. When working with a coach, you need to bring your issues, doubts, questions and receptivity to feedback to get the most from the experience.
Guidelines for selecting a coach include the following:
Get recommendations from colleagues who have had success with a coach
- During the interview ask probing questions
- Connecting with a coach is critical but not especially scientific
- Explore knowledge and logistics. Make sure the coach is well versed in the non-profit world. Most coaches generally meet once or twice a month for two hours over a course of at least six months.
There are many options for obtaining coaching assistance. One option is to contact the Center for Non-Profit Coaching (CNPC). CNPC seeks to provide service to those who in turn provide service to others. The center offers organization coaching, one-on-one coaching and group coaching. Donor and grant funds subsidize CNPC. Coaches volunteer their time in support of their work. This may be an option that you should consider.
Our profession is very complex, demanding and ever changing. The education, experience and background information needed for continuous success stresses the importance of nonprofit executives using every tool at their disposal to stay informed and prepared for leadership challenges.
I have always believed in the importance of a fundraising coach. Each person is different and comes to the table with a variety of career and life experiences to share. If you can take advantage of coaching opportunities, do so. If you have received any benefit from coaching, I encourage you to pay it forward and coach others. I thank the many coaches that have influenced me along my long career path. Their advice was needed and much appreciated.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.