Advancement leaders consistently talk about the need for volunteer leaders to be enthusiastic advocates for the institution.
However, Advancement leaders rarely help their volunteer leaders develop the courage to advocate on behalf of the institution when faced with concerns, critiques, criticisms, and disapprovals from donors and other constitutes.
- A major donor shares privately with a Foundation Board member that she felt slighted by comments made by the president at a recent event;
- An influential business leader in the community calls a governing Board member with a complaint about how a recent RFP issued by the institution for a major contract was handled;
- An alumnus communicates with a campaign volunteer leader that he would give but he feels as though his last major gift was not appropriately recognized by the institution.
In many instances like these, volunteer leaders either are not confident in how they should respond or respond in ways that end up not being the most helpful.
When we engage our volunteer leaders to help them develop the skills and courage to listen well, ask probing questions, respond appropriately, and provide feedback helpfully when faced with negative opinions and perspectives, our institutions reap a fuller version of their volunteer commitment.
And, our volunteer leaders feel useful in meaningful and helpful ways.