No One Belongs Under the Bus

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Written by Alex Comfort, CFRE

Over my 47-year working career, I have found most job situations pretty similar – even in the US Air Force. Let’s be honest. You get along with some people and pray hard for other people to retire or leave. But there are basic rules which help us all get through the day with our colleagues, regardless of our opinion of them.

One came into play with me recently. I am a consultant but I also have entered into a working relationship with KFA Nonprofit Funding Solutions. This firm is headed by Ginger Keller-Ferguson, a development savant who has a keen sense of how to do things.  

But as many of my colleagues over the years will tell you, details are not my strength. I have functioned only with the help of wonderful, patient, eagle-eyed staff members who spot my lack of attention to detail and get me -- and the details -- corrected.

Ginger and I currently have a joint project and she graciously asked me to meet meet. I consulted my calendar and gave her a date.  She got the other side to agree to the date. Then, to my horror I realized I had already given away that date and had to ask for a re-scheduling of the date I had given her!

Without any snarky comment to me, which I certainly deserved, the email went out and said simply, “Our previous date has to be changed, and here is a possible new date.” How gracious!  

My point, of course, is that it would have been easy to have thrown me under the bus, but Ginger resisted.  And I am grateful.

I often remind development professionals that NO ONE OWES US ANYTHING. We need to be gracious, to roll with the punches, and to demonstrate the graciousness and the high road we need ourselves in our lives.

Recently I was asked about my philosophy on dealing with major donors. My reponse wasn't all that eloquent. I said something to the effect of “We need to remember we are all just people trying our best to do some good in the world.”  And we need to appreciate each other.

It's a lessen that's important to all nonprofits, regardless of your role in the organization. Following this philosphy will indeed help you do more, better. 

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