We ALL Need Each Other—Why Going Solo Doesn’t Work: A four-part series.

Sometimes, I just want to take my hands and put them on the shoulders of a development director and shake them and say, “Wake up!”

Richard and I work with development directors and major gift officers from many different organizations.  Because of that we have the ability to see things from a different vantage point and can better survey the landscape.  Sometimes that landscape looks pretty bleak.

When you are working in a non-profit institution for a good period of time, it’s easy to lose the big picture.  It’s easy to become self-centered, to focus on your work, your issues, your office politics, etc…

And, it goes beyond what our industry calls the “silo” mentality.  (Gosh, how many conference seminars deal with that topic?)  I really think it’s more about believing that our own work is so important that we lose sight of things.  We lose sight of the fact that we could actually be doing better and greater things if only we recognized the gifts that other departments and people can bring to our own work.

You and your department become solo players. You forget the value other people and other departments have on your work.

It’s easy to become myopic in how you do your work.  You begin to put boundaries around your “territory.”  When that happens, you either unconsciously (best case) or purposely (worst case) keep good people with great strategies out of your world.

I really don’t think you can afford to do that.  Not if you truly want to 1) give your donors an incredible experience with your organization and 2) grow into a leader in the development field.

So, I’m starting this new series called, “We ALL Need Each Other-Why Going Solo Doesn’t Work.”  Yeah, it might sound a little corny, but it speaks to the heart of the matter.  .  As someone involved in major gifts, you need the insight and talent of other people and departments who can help make you successful and help you truly serve your donors.

I’m going to be taking about how you as a MGO need the cooperation and input from all the areas below.

1. Planned Giving

2. Program

3. Direct-Response

4. Communications/PR

All of these areas of fundraising are critical to you for the success of your major gift program.  Now I ask you to put away your biases, along with your association of these areas to personalities with whom you may have a problem, and allow yourself to be open to new possibilities in your work with major donors.

You cannot afford NOT to work with other people and departments within your organization.  And, YOU can be an agent for change.

What I would appreciate is your stories too.  Richard and I want this blog to be a dialogue.  Thanks for walking with us.

Jeff

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About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
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2 Responses to We ALL Need Each Other—Why Going Solo Doesn’t Work: A four-part series.

  1. Theresa says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your post. I am interested in how to be an agent of change. Do you have any thoughts on breaking down barriers when your colleagues continually put up roadblocks to your working together? For example, planned giving officers who lack basic competencies around both moves management and technical expertise; program people who don’t want you to reach out to the people you serve at your organization because they are protective of the relationship/donor and mistake major gift relationship building for pushing people to give more than they have; direct mail response employees who fear you’ll “steal” the most loyal annual donors; and communications staff who don’t understand marketing to major donors?

    • Hi Theresa, sounds like a very dysfunctional development shop. My advice would be to sit down with your boss and discuss how actually working together would help “lift all the boats,” rather than work as separate entities. If leadership doesn’t see the benefit of that…it might be time for you to move on. One thought is to try and find something positive each of these division bring to the table, highlight that and ask for more of it. Everything you pointed out to us comes from something very negative. Can you turn that around and find the good, expose that and then seeks ways to work closer together? Good luck and let us know how it goes.

      Jeff

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