Where are you going?Lately, I’ve been doing a bunch of interviewing of major gift officer candidates for some of our clients. It’s been enlightening.
I would say that these candidates fall into two camps. First, there are those who have no direction and are pursuing this particular position for a little bump in pay, or to escape something bad. Then there are those who feel that this potential job is aligned with the vision they have for themselves as major gift fundraisers.
Which camp would you fall into?
As you know, Richard and I are really big into setting goals and planning as part of “The Veritus Way,” the structure we know works for major gift fundraising. This belief around setting goals is based on years and years of experience, watching what happens when you don’t have a goal and a strategic plan. More often than not, it never happens.
It’s the same about your career.
What is your vision of your career destination?
Believe me, those folks I’ve been interviewing who have goals and a vision for what they want to accomplish are much more attractive because they are more personally driven to get there. There is an intentionality about them that I didn’t find in the other candidates. Not only were their résumés more impressive, but the candidates with a vision were more successful, gave off an energy of strength, and yet had a calm presence about them. It was very impressive to interview them.
On the other hand, there were the folks that were wanting to leave their last position because they just wanted a bump in pay – the ones who didn’t really have a good direction, or were trying to escape something they don’t like. They didn’t interview as strongly, they were not as successful in their careers, or they didn’t seem to care as much about the work they were doing as those who had vision.
It was a stark difference.
Richard and I want you to have a vision for your career. Something that drives you beyond just the salary or wanting the right manager or better office space. How do you want to grow as a major gift fundraiser?
Perhaps your vision is to stay with an organization for a long period of time, so you can really build relationships with donors and move them toward transformational gifts and be a principal gift officer. Or maybe you want to manage other MGOs eventually, and you’re trying to get as much experience as you can on the front line, to pass on that knowledge.
I know it’s difficult to spend time thinking long-term when your job is stressful, and it feels like you can barely keep up. But we believe it’s critical to have a goal or vision for your career, because it will keep you focused and intentional about the decisions you make. (Tweet it!)
And, quite frankly, one trait that all successful major gift officers should have is that you work from intention. That means that you have a sense of purpose to this work. It’s reflective of how you interact with donors, but it’s also how you think about your own career journey.
So take time to reflect on where you are in your career. Where do you want to end up (what is your vision)? Then create a plan for how you’d like to get there.
What you will find, just as I did with those candidates I’ve been interviewing, is that if you have that vision for your career, you’ll act with greater intention and purpose, and you’ll have much more success.