A few months ago, Brock Warner set up a mentoring tweet chat. (See the #NFPmentors from August recapped here.) I joined in on that one-hour wild keyboard ride because I believe that having a mentor is a great help in one’s career path. I had such a great first boss (I didn’t know how good I had), someone who allowed me to try, but who also guided me both as a fundraiser and about the politics of the institution. But I never really had another fundraiser who I could turn to who could help me sift through the challenging parts of my professional journey. I did try to connect through a program through the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy when I lived in Washington DC, but the connection just didn’t seem to be there.
But now, I think I’ve finally found my mentor! During my career I often the person I reported to if she or he would be my mentor. But it never worked that way. I think your boss can mentor you, but isn’t your mentor. And anyway, I’ve had friends who have been sounding boards, and colleagues who have been generous with fundraising experience and expertise. But I believe a mentor is someone who helps you become a better fundraiser and who may help you navigate the challenges of career and, perhaps, life? There are programs such as one at the Vancouver chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). That might be a great way to go, or through another professional organization to which you belong. Honestly, there are many ways to find a mentor for yourself. It may be as easy as making your interest known. Continue reading