The Value of Having a Voice of Wisdom

BKC8Y8VF8KHolly was a godsend during my first job as a development director. She had been in the fundraising world for over 30 years at that point. We stayed in touch for several years but lost track of each other after a while.

I started at Community Health Centers as their grants manager (they had been through five development directors in the prior five years so weren’t quite ready to go that route again at that point). Having a strong grants background, and the 5-day intro to fundraising course from The Fundraising School at Indiana University under my belt, I knew I didn’t know quite enough yet at that point to develop a new fundraising program from scratch. So I recruited Holly to help. Being a traditional consultant she wasn’t quite sure how to handle my request as I wanted a coach rather than a consultant, but we managed to pull together an agreement and we sold it to the CEO.

Holly brought the expertise, background and knowledge to help us develop a strong foundation for a development office. In fact, the development director after me stayed in the position for about 10 years!

All that to say, sometimes it’s important to have access to advice when you need it. It can help put a better foundation in place as well as added credibility for new ideas.

Here are a few signs that you might be in need of advice, you’re:

  • Unsure of what direction to go
  • Not yet seen as expert (or on staff so no longer seen as the expert – funny how that works isn’t it?)
  • Know that you don’t have the training or experience needed

So where can you get help?

You can look for an experienced mentor by networking and talking with others in the profession (the Association of Fundraising Professionals is a great resource for both development professionals and for CEO’s / Executive Directors). Many states have statewide associations that offer networking opportunities and many subsectors of the nonprofit world have their own networks.

If that doesn’t look like it will work for you, or if you don’t have the time to network and find someone, please feel free to contact me at or by phone at +1 502.509.5004. My new Consultant-on-Call program may be just what you’re looking for!

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