I love my job.“I hate my job!”
How many people can and will say that today? Thousands. Likely millions.
It’s true that not everyone will have the job they love or even like.
But as a MGO, can you still be effective and not love your job? As Jeff and I have thought about this, we’ve concluded that yes, a MGO can be effective to a certain transactional level. But they won’t be as effective as they could be if their heart and spirit were wedded and embedded into the cause and the organization.
You can go through the mechanics of major gifts – targeting the right donor, creating the right offer, and going through the right cultivation and asking steps – and still experience a certain level of success. But the transformational success you seek, in our experience, won’t happen unless you engage your heart and mind at a deeper level.
Because fundraising, at its core, is a spiritual activity (with a small “s”). I’m not talking here about something religious. I’m talking about the deepest desires a donor has to cause good to happen on the planet – to take her hard-earned money and secure restoration, redemption, peace, healing, and wholeness in a situation that is broken and needs help. Or to lift the gaze or spirit of a human.
When you frame fundraising in this manner, as all of us at Veritus do, it changes everything and demands of all of us – MGOs like you and consultants like us – to be closer emotionally and spiritually to what we’re doing as a job, rather than treating it as “just a job.”
You know what I’m talking about here. Stop and think about it. If you frame fundraising as a mechanical activity where the objective is to secure the money from a donor and pass it to the organization, then all your behavior as a MGO will be mechanical.
But if you’re tuned in at the heart and your spirit is engaged, you can access your intuition more – your heart will be more open – you’ll hear and see things in your donor you otherwise wouldn’t see. You’ll be sensitive to a host of other relational nuances that will drive the relationship.
If you genuinely tune into this as a spiritual experience, you will not be bound by your thoughts and the boundaries you’ve either set for yourself or that someone has told you to set. Instead, you’ll be able to focus and actualize what will truly bring your donor great joy.
For instance, we often come across MGOs who aren’t asking the right amount from a donor – usually, it’s too low. Why? Because they’re bound by the conventions of major gifts – to look at past giving history, calculate a reasonable ask amount, ask, etc. Because they’re not able to perceive that the donor’s need and want is driving a larger amount or a different approach, the MGO doesn’t have the confidence to go ahead and boldly ask within that context.
Or if the ask isn’t the right timing, being able to tune into that reality as the truth of the donor rather than a rejection. And then being able to react appropriately instead of following the rules and pressure of mechanical fundraising.
This is the difference between a mechanical approach vs. a spiritual approach.
But here’s the thing. If you’re not connected personally to the cause – if you’re not emotionally and spiritually vested in it – how can you love your job? You can’t. And that will force you to operate mechanically.
That’s why it’s important to love your job, the cause it represents, and the organization itself.
Now Jeff and I know that organizations (like relationships with people) are fraught with problems, tensions, and ups and downs. That’s how life is. So you’ll never find a perfect organization, just like you’ll never find a perfect relationship. That’s the human condition.
This reality calls us all to set the appropriate expectations for the humans who run the organization. And to be clear, I don’t mean putting up with abusive or unjust situations. No. Run away from those.
But there are a lot of good organizations and good leaders who will, at times, be disappointing. That’s life. And in those good organizations, connect your heart and spirit to the cause so you can genuinely behave transformationally in all your donor relationships. That’s what will make a tremendous difference in your job satisfaction and the success you’ll experience.
Remember, true major gifts fundraising is connecting the donor’s heart and passions to a need. (Tweet it!) And you, as a MGO, are right in the middle of all of that with your heart, spirit, and mind also connected. This is what will make it work for the donor, for you, and for your organization.