I was talking with a sweet woman this morning about my upcoming Mastermind program and we discussed the importance of having a group of peers to think and reflect with.

You know what I’m talking about – people you can whine with and bounce ideas off of.

Way too many nonprofit Executive Directors and Development Directors work on an island.  They don’t have a group of colleagues they can go to for support.

It gets really lonely (and it doesn’t have to be that way).

I figured out early in my fundraising career that I needed people to walk this amazing journey with.  So I formed my own fundraising tribe made up of several other fundraisers who were also looking for some support.  I affectionately referred to them as my “rowdy girlfriends.”  By the way, it was this same group of rowdy girls that talked me into starting my consulting business 5 years ago! (Thanks gals!)

So, who is in your tribe?

Who do you call when you need to vent about some crazy Board member?  Who do you lean on when times get tough?  Who do you celebrate your big achievements with?

If you don’t have a group like this, I encourage you to start one.  It doesn’t have to be big.  Just 3 or 4 people can provide a LOT of support to one another.

The only ground rule that my group used was that everything was confidential. We’d meet once a month for a nice lunch and catch up with each other.  It gave us the chance to ask for advice on how to handle things or even how to implement specific fundraising strategies.  We were so close that we could even ask about insights into specific donors (“Have you ever worked with Jean Smith?”).  It was awesome.

I encourage you to seek out those you can mastermind with and support one another. It’s worth its weight in gold!

  1. Sandy: I have a tribe of 1 — my cousin. She’s been in the business for 20 years, I’ve been in the business for 3 (with 25 years of for-profit experience). We serve as vent-mates, advice givers, advice takers, strategy formulators, and gigglers. In the past 3 years we have each implemented several big ideas poached from each other, and our organizations are stronger for it. We talk everyday at 2:33 p.m.four times a week when she leaves work to pick up her kids. The best bonus — we’ve become as close as sisters. We both love your blog!!! Heepwah from Camp Ondessonk!!! (it means — Yea! well done! )

    • Awesome! A tribe doesn’t need to be big to work, does it? I love that you include giggling on your list!

      Thanks for the shout out from Camp Ondessonk!


  2. Great point to have a tribe or mastermind group. The whole reason I was invited into this tribe was on account of being part of our local consultants’ group which Jeff Brunson co-founded. It’s great to see Gregg here as well. One other very helpful tribe for me is my #soloPR group that meets weekly on twitter. I’ve made a lot of virtual PR pro friends that way.

  3. Sandy, spending time with Michael Port’s thoughts in his books, as well as getting to spend face time with him in 2008, I’ve become convinced of one of his networking principles: Your networking time must be split 50/50 between your target market and your colleagues. I’ve been committed to that since … with great reward. All the best as you lead your clients in this direction; and for modeling it!

  4. I’ve been in several mastermind groups and find them VERY helpful. It helps when you really trust their input and know that we each have our strengths and weaknesses. The mastermind group helps you use the synegy of the group to overcome obstacles and move forward by leaps and bounds. I feel very blessed to be in one with you, Sandy! (And you, Sue!)

  5. I wrote a post about this called “Who is your nonprofit friend?” some time ago. http://www.wildwomanfundraising.com/nonprofit-friend/

    Your friendships are so important. Your friends help you value yourself more. They go out to tea with you when you’re feeling down. They go dancing with you. They even help you move! If I hadn’t had my nonprofit friends at my last two jobs, I think I would have never gotten through them.

    Now, more than ever, we need nonprofit friends to help us get through. These relationships stand the test of time.


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