You can be obsessed about performance. You can be worried about the numbers. You can be comparing yourself to other MGOs or other managers of MGOs. You can be wondering why you don’t get the credit you deserve. Your world can be filled with worry, angst, fear. There may be jealousy, anger and resentment. There may even be a touch of inadequacy.
This is the dark world one enters when the focus is only on performance, as I have outlined in this series.
It’s true – MGO or major gift performance is an important area. And it must be done – the evaluation and measuring must happen.
But if that is all you do to yourself, as a MGO; or if you are a manager of MGOs and that is all you do – then you have left out the main thing, the core thing – and that is a focus on the good that has been done.
Let me remind you what that is:

  1. You have forever changed the life of another person through the help your organization gave.
  2. You have forever saved a forest, or a waterway, or an animal.
  3. You have forever changed a system that was unjust or participated in a life-saving discovery or affected the environment in a way that made a difference.
  4. You have forever changed the life of a donor, fulfilling their deepest passions and wishes for the good their money would do.
  5. You have spoken and written a kind word to a donor, making them feel special for caring and affirming the good person they are.
  6. You have demonstrated kindness in your workplace and brought a renewed valuing of giving among those you journey with.
  7. And you have been good to yourself by using your gifts to help others address, in meaningful ways, some of the most pressing problems of our hurting planet.

Stop and take a look at what you have done. It is good. It is valuable. It is lasting. It is important. It matters.
Stop and focus on that. This whole thing we call major gifts is not just about the money or measuring the money or measuring the securing of money, as important as it is. This journey is about doing what really matters. And you are right in the thick of it.
Stop right now and be quiet as you read this. Bring to mind the conversations you have had with donors, program people and the beneficiaries of your organization – whether they are people, places or animals. Think about what has happened there and take it in. Focus on what matters. It will lift your spirit and get your eyes back on the right things.
And then remember to go to this place at least once a week, where you lift yourself up from the fray and remember what it is really all about.
Read the full series:

  1. Introduction to Measuring MGO Performance
  2. The Right Metrics
  3. Who Gets Credit?
  4. Pay for Performance?
  5. What to Report
  6. Keep Focused on What Matters