Earlier this year, my daughter and her classmates raised money for pediatric cancer (as they do every year) in a friendly game of teacher volleyball. The teachers are pictured here before the game.
Each teacher wore a t-shirt with a nickname on the back. My favorite was the principal’s whose shirt said “Mike Romanager.” The principal’s first name isn’t Mike, nor is his last name Romanager.
Mike Romanager = Micromanager
Don’t feel bad if you couldn’t figure it out. I had to explain it to several parents seated around me. Although I must admit, it cracked me up.
Are you a micromanager when it comes to your staff?
Or, on the other end of the spectrum, are you a laissez faire (hands off) boss?
3 Suggestions to Lead Your Staff to Success
Regardless of where you fall on the management spectrum, here are 3 suggestions for leading your staff to fundraising success.
1. Set goals together.
Setting goals is an important part of the fundraising process.
Specific goals help set clear expectations. Annual and quarterly goals will help you benchmark progress and performance.
However, it’s also important to set goals as a team. Specific goals shouldn’t be given to a staff member without their input, buy-in, and acceptance.
Also, goals should be more than simply a dollar amount. Of course in fundraising, dollars raised is one important metric, but other metrics should be taken into account as well. Simply because your hardworking, dedicated development director doesn’t make her goal, doesn’t mean she needs to be let go. Likewise, a disgruntled development director who does meet her goal shouldn’t necessarily be kept.
Some non-financial goals can include metrics such as:
- Number of meaningful meetings with individual donors
- Donor retention (repeat donors) and acquisition (new donors) and attrition (donors leaving)
- Meaningful stewardship efforts (do you call donors, write handwritten notes)
2. Have regular meetings to evaluate progress.
Once you’ve set the goals, staff members should be provided leeway to decide how to reach the goals. However, that doesn’t mean not checking in for a year. It also doesn’t mean breathing down their neck and weighing in on every decision.
Your best bet is to set a weekly check-in meeting. This meeting should take less than an hour (and certainly never more). Simply check in to find out what they will be doing this week to work towards their goals.
- Will they meet all impending deadlines?
- Why do they feel there are on or off track?
- Is there anything you can do to help or that they need from you?
That’s it. That’s all the weekly meeting needs to cover.
If they don’t meet deadlines or make goals, they ought to have good reasons. However, it shouldn’t catch you by surprise at the end of the year, since they’ve been keeping you up to date all along.
3. Celebrate success.
You may know that the average tenure of a development professional is around 18 months. There are many reasons development directors hop from job to job so frequently, including:
- Low pay/ bad benefits
- Unrealistic expectations (goals)
- Inflexible schedule (no flex time/work from home)
- Lack of trust and autonomy
However, one relatively easy way for executive directors to keep their development directors around longer is to show their appreciation and celebrate success.
This could be as simple as saying “thank you” and recognizing hard work on a regular and periodic basis. It’s important to celebrate success by acknowledging a job well done.
Acknowledging success could take many shapes, including:
- Verbal praise
- Recognition in a staff or board meeting
- Going out for lunch
- Given an extra day off
- Financial bonus
Leading Your Team to Success
If you truly want to lead an accomplished fundraising team, it’s important to set realistic goals, ensure progress is being made toward those goals without being overbearing, as well as recognizing and rewarding achievement. If you can do that, you will be much more likely to lead your team to fundraising success.
What are some challenges you’ve faced — either when leading a fundraising team or dealing with a micromanaging boss? Share them in the comments below.