The job matches the person.

Sixth in the series Six Reasons Your MGO Will Leave Your Organization

There are many reasons a MGO will leave an organization. I put the reasons or circumstances into three categories:

  1. Push Factors – those reasons that push the MGO out. I have outlined most of these reasons in each of the blogs of this series.
  2. Pull Factors – those circumstances that pull the MGO out, like higher pay or a cause they like better or a city they would rather live in or a promotion.
  3. No Match Factors – those circumstances where it is obvious that the MGO’s gifts, abilities and motivations do not match the job.

I want to spend a little time on the third category – no match factors – because it is one that Jeff and I and our associates have encountered quite a few times in our work.
One of the core reasons a person fails at his job, other than just being lazy, is that there is not a match between his “motivated abilities” and the job requirements. (Motivated abilities are abilities – things you’re good at doing – that you are motivated to use.)
Sima International introduced testing for motivated abilities decades ago, and it is still one of the most effective ways to understand how to match your “wiring” and inclinations to a job. They test you in five areas:

  1. The motivated abilities the person naturally and instinctively uses to accomplish anything that matters to him/her.
  2. The subject matter that s/he most naturally works on, with, or through.
  3. The circumstances or environmental conditions in which s/he thrives.
  4. The roles and relationships s/he prefers to have, relative to others.
  5. The central motivational thrust or “payoff” that drives the person’s behavior.

If you have the time and money and you want to uncover your “wiring,” I highly recommend taking this test. Just Google “motivated abilities pattern testing” and find a supplier with whom you feel comfortable. I did this test years ago, and it changed the course of my career.
Here’s the bottom line to all of this. We all have certain abilities – things we do well. And we all have certain motivations – things we do because they pay off emotionally. And when your ability matches a motivation, and that match aligns to a job requirement, then you have a very clear path toward success. Why? Because you are motivated and good at doing the very task the job requires.
So in the world and life of MGOs, there are specific things the job requires, and there are characteristics a MGO needs to have, to be successful. I have combined the requirements and characteristics into one list in no particular order of priority. Take a look at this, and see if it matches WHO you are and WHAT you like to do:

  1. A commitment to the mission of the organization. If you are not committed to what your organization does, then you should go look for another job. Seriously. Don’t just collect a paycheck. You won’t last if that is your only reason for being in your job.
  2. An outrageous drive to help donors fulfill their interests and passions and let them know their giving is making a difference. I use the word “outrageous” purposefully because I mean it is a stirring within you. You want to help donors express themselves. It is fun, fulfilling, energizing. You just love it. You are hooked on it. It is something you want. This means you work hard at figuring out how to match the organization’s needs to what your donor wants to do. AND, once the donor has given, you are quick to tell her how her giving made a difference.
  3. An orientation toward sales and people. By sales I mean that you enjoy helping donors exchange their money for an offer you have created that matches their passions and interests. This is the classic definition of sales – managing mutually satisfying exchanges.
  4. A love of getting results through your own efforts. A manager is someone who enjoys getting results through others. A salesperson is someone who enjoys getting results through their own efforts. The major gift job requires that a MGO enjoy getting results through their own efforts. Do you?
  5. Above average verbal/written communication skills. A successful MGO can tell and write a good story – they can take the donor to the need – they can effectively communicate what needs to be done and why, and they can handle the nuances of a conversation with a donor, including objections, criticisms and problems.
  6. A desire to be in the field vs. office. This is tricky, because a MGO does need to be in the office for some of those endless meetings. But if you are a good MGO, your greatest love is being out there with the donors.
  7. A love of planning. You love to know where you are going with each donor. So you plan well, and you are patient with the process of planning. You know that a good plan for every donor is a good use of time, and it helps you stay on track and stay focused.
  8. High confidence / ability to handle rejection well. You are confident about your organization, your ability and what you are offering the donor. And you handle rejection well. You understand that a “no” is simply a pathway to a “yes”; it’s not personal failure.
  9. Understanding and acceptance of accountability. While you may not like it, you have a clear understanding and acceptance of the need for accountability in your job. You know that your good manager or coach is there to help you stay focused and on track, so that you are successful.
  10. Restlessness and orientation toward achievement. You are not satisfied with the status quo. Goals are invigorating. You love to win. You are competitive.
  11. Appreciation for long-term investments. This means that you are patient and persistent. You know that good relationships take time to develop and that donors’ lives go up and down just like yours.
  12. A positive and enthusiastic outlook. The job doesn’t get you down. You see the brighter side of things. You solve problems rather than complain about them. You have a “can do” attitude.

There may be more requirements and characteristics than these, but Jeff and I believe these are the critical core. Take a look at this list. If you find yourself saying “Yep, that’s me!” more often than “Nope, that’s not me,” then you and your motivated abilities are a match for the job. If the job isn’t a match, we suggest you start looking for another job, because you will only experience misery and failure in this one.
Now, to be clear, if the job doesn’t match who you are, it is NOT because you are a failure. There simply isn’t a match. And that is all there is to it. So do not punish yourself or think less of yourself.
This is the end of this series on the reasons a MGO will leave an organization. Jeff and I hope that, whether you are a manager or a MGO, you will find our writings and thoughts on this subject helpful. Our greatest desire is for each MGO, in every cause around the world, to be in a happy and fulfilling place.
PS – If this post resonated with you, you might also want to get our free White Paper, “Why You Should Be a Major Gift Officer.”
Read the whole series, Six Reasons Your MGO Will Leave Your Organization:

  1. MGOs Will Leave a Culture that Focuses on Money vs The Cause
  2. MGOs Leave If They Have Nothing to Offer Donors
  3. MGOs Will Leave If You Give Them Unrealistic Goals
  4. MGOs Will Leave with Too Many Changing Expectations
  5. MGOs Will Leave Incompetent Managers
  6. MGOs Leave When the Job Doesn’t Fit