The Power of a Fundraising Coach
If there’s one rule in fundraising that takes years of real experience to be convinced that it’s critical, it’s the need for a fundraising coach.
Notice I didn't write consultant. And not because I don't think consultants aren’t important, but because if a consultant doesn’t start behaving more like a coach and less like a "professional with lots of great ideas," he/she is useless. Utterly. Useless.
In my opinion, fundraising is disgusting. No one really enjoys asking other people for money. But you might meet that one person who says, "I just looooove fundraising," one day.
If you’ve ever had to make cold calls, or walk door to door, you’ll remember that feeling. Eight-five percent of your body is just hoping they don’t answer, so you won’t have to make that ask to have the door shut in your face… again.
It’s rough being a fundraiser. And to succeed you have to have grit, drive, energy. Cue your new theme song, “I get knocked down, but I get up again! You are never gonna keep me down." And just like the greatest athletes don't rely on their own self motivation, you’ve got to hire a coach. To train you, scream at you and push you beyond your limits.
Fundraising Coaches Keep You Accountable
Unlike a consultant, a good coach is with you with every weight you carry, every bead of sweat and every step across the finish line. Think of your favorite coaches at the gym: They pump you up, instill fearlessness and reveal a deeper will you never even knew you had.
More importantly, they hold you accountable.
This is not to bash consultants; the guidance you receive from them is important, but it’s different. And you can generally supplement for a lack thereof with knowledge gleaned from books and YouTube videos from top experts in the field.
But you’ll never be able to make up for not having a coach. Just as watching a video workout is way different than having someone right there, getting you through that final push-up.
I'm writing this article because this point has reached high levels of opiphinism (yes, I make up words). The other day I was on a call with two clients: one is a successful banker, the other a manufacturer. These guys have a lifetime of skills, but they still needed someone to push them out of their safety zone. And here I was doing just that. Hello, I've barely taken my training wheels off compared to these guys, and I'm giving it to them. Showing, motivating them to go deeper.
What I learned in that moment is that skills and knowledge are secondary to absolute grit. You need someone to kick you in the a&%. To get you out of the office and into networking events. Off the emails and on the phones. Off the phones and into meetings. Out of meetings and into giving live presentations.
You need to be alive—like a tiger! It’s time to go, go, go, go!
Moshe Hecht, winner of the 2017 NonProfit PRO Technology Professional of the Year, is a philanthropy futurist, public speaker and chief innovation officer of Charidy, a crowdfunding platform and consulting company that has helped 3,000 organizations raise over $700 million.
Moshe's passion lies at the intersection of technology and charitable giving. When Moshe is not at the office, he is writing music and enjoying downtime with his wife and three redheaded children.