When I first starting fundraising I thought I would spend almost all my time talking to donors and out of the office asking them for money. Regardless of your size or position you should have opportunities to talk with donors, hear about their lives & interests, and thank them for their gifts. But you will probably not get to be the one that asks for the big gifts.
I was talking with a friend of mine about her fundraising experiences as a Major Gifts Officer and we started to lament that very thing. The most senior leaders of an organization traditionally do all of the asking. I imagine that some of this has to do with how important asking for a major gift really is. As my friend and I talked we both laughed as we realized that we had held in secret how many “real” asks we had been on. Both of us had cultivated, prospected, and stewarded lots and lots of donors but when it came time to ask them for something specific we did not have that chance.
Have you had this experience? If this is frustrating to you, I encourage you to talk with your boss. Let your boss know that you’d like to have and area that you can build. Come with a couple of suggestions as to what area makes sense to you. I often try and find an area that is relatively new and the organization has not invested a lot of time. This allows me to grow an underserved area and continue to refine my skills as a development professional.
Have you found this myth to be true? If so what have you done to respond to it? Maybe you are that executive leader; do you make a strong effort to provide opportunities for your staff to lead?