Over the years, we at Veritus have worked with many major gift officers. We have had experience with lots of good ones and, unfortunately, some pretty bad ones. But we also, throughout our careers, have had the privilege of working with a handful of EXTRAORDINARY MGOs.
In our work with these MGOs we have uncovered six “secrets” to what makes them so unique. These “secrets” are unconventional and sometimes counter‐intuitive, yet they are key if YOU want to be extraordinary at this work. These secrets are to be shared, so please pass them on to your colleagues. (They are all available in our free White Paper, Six Secrets to Becoming an Extraordinary MGO.)
So here’s the first “secret”:
1. Set Goals You Can’t Reach
You may be thinking, “Why would I set myself up for failure?” It’s not about overextending yourself and setting expectations that management will consider too high. No, this is about challenging yourself. Here’s what we mean. In the process of goal setting with each individual donor, for most of the MGOs we work with, we have a “management” goal and a “personal” goal. The “management” goal is what we report to development leadership. Usually, these goals already have a healthy percentage increase over the previous year. In other words, there is no “sandbagging” going on. The extraordinary MGOs never sandbag their numbers so they can easily make their goals. And if you have a good manager, it’s really irritating to them. They’ll see right through what you’re trying to do. So don’t even try. It’s a fast track to being out of a job.
Okay, so now you have your “management” goal. But something we find in extraordinary MGOs is that they will not be happy with that. They don’t want to settle with the “management goal.” This is why we help great MGOs create the “top‐secret personal goal.” These are the goals that, if you really kicked it up a notch, you could achieve from your caseload. This is where you say to yourself, “If I spent more time with these 10 donors and came up with something that really matched their passions, I could get them to do much more than they even thought they could.”
Why is this a good practice? Because it helps you stretch yourself, and we find it to be a great internal motivator for extraordinary MGOs. And 9 times out of 10 what we find is that, when a higher goal is set… it’s achieved.
So here’s the situation: you can put some of those cool, motivational posters on your wall or screen saver and use them for a little inspiration every now and then; or, if you’re like the extraordinary MGOs we work with, you can create your “secret personal goals” and challenge yourself to make them. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you actually put something down on paper and commit to it.
Here’s one last bit of advice on these secret goals: tell one other person (who is not in management) about them. Why? Because that one person will hold you accountable and that is key to achieving your goals.
For the other five secrets to being an extraordinary MGO, click here to visit our website and request the free white paper of this same name. Next secret: Being Rejected is Required.