What Olympic Coaches & Fundraising Coaches Have in Common
I prefer to refer to myself as a coach not a fundraising consultant. My work often takes me inside organizations to see what is working and what isn’t working as well as it could. The questions I ask and the actions I ask the staff and board to undertake are intended to cause them to be the best they can be. My questions and requests are not always met with enthusiasm. But I believe a good coach doesn’t worry about that.
A good coach has the job of getting you to YOUR goal.
Over the past 12 years I’ve coached thousands of organizations in North America and helped them raise nearly $200 million from individual donors, some for long periods of coaching and others for just a meeting or phone call. What I’ve found is the people who are most willing to learn and grow understand the concepts that 1996 Olympic gold medal gymnast Kerri Strug shared last Friday night during NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.
Here’s what Kerri said when she was talking about her coach Bella Karolyi:
“With Bela you knew that you were doing everything within your power to be the best you possibly could. On a daily basis I did not like the man. He was not nice. He’s not supposed to be a father figure. He was not supposed to be my friend. He’s my coach. He’s supposed to get the best out of me as an athlete.”
Having a coach is something I encourage everyone to do personally and/or professionally. Some of my most memorable coaches were people who saw me as already being successful at whatever it was I was working toward. They were tough but I welcomed the push they gave me to do more than I ever thought I could.
Who do you have in your life who helps you and your organization be the best you can be? It could be a board member, a donor, a volunteer, your CEO or a colleague from another organization.
The way I offer my coaching most often these days is through my Ignited Online Fundraising Community: A group of like-minded, hard-working development professionals all working to raise as much money as possible. Truth be told, I’ve had coaching groups speak about me as Kerri described Bela. And I wear their comments as a badge of honor; especially when it’s helped them raise more money than they ever thought possible.
Remember, your coach should “get the best out of you” as a fundraiser.