Friday, October 22, 2010

From a place of ARRGGHH!

Lately there have been a lot of developments in my office that I’m not entirely sure are good. There is a trend in nonprofit that men and women who have worked their whole lives in the corporate world decide they want to do some good and swoop into an NGO at a high level executive position thinking they are going to “fix” everything that must be wrong with the organization.


This is frustrating on many levels.


Firstly, the arrogance of these people is unbelievable to the point that they think it’s acceptable to yammer on about what a big pay cut they are taking, and how they aren’t doing this job for the money. The thing is, they still make an astronomical amount, and it is just so incredibly unprofessional and horrid to discuss your six figure-plus salary as if it’s peanuts.


Secondly, each time another senior position gets filled with an amazing, wonderful overqualified corporate wunderkind, who is doing us all a huge favor, it becomes more and more clear to me that these people know next to nothing about fundraising and have little to no interest in the mission of the organization. In fact some of their previous experience makes it seem as though they have opposite interests.


For many of us, this is our career, not some second hand interest we developed once we had already made gobs of money. We are working in these jobs because we can’t imagine working someplace where we felt as though our job didn’t matter; wasn’t making a difference. It sounds lame, but it’s so true. I think I have made a lot of sacrifices to work in the conservation world and doubly for nonprofit and this pat-me-on-the-head attitude makes my blood boil. I took the time and spent the money to get a degree in my field; I have worked my way up, learning all the details and nuances of the not for profit sector and I actually know better than them.


It is so frustrating for these women (mostly) to descend on us with their marketing and sales attitude, not even realizing that donor stewardship is NOT sales. To me, this is the most basic principle of high dollar fundraising.


Not to mention hiring your friends, treating everyone under 30 like inexperienced morons, and having the absolute worst email and meeting etiquette. They think we are too sensitive and take things to personally. That’s because this is personal for those of us who actually give a shit about our programs and mission. I’m not making $20,000 less a year than the rest of my graduating class because I don’t need the money.


I could deal with all of these things; I could bite my tongue and give them the benefit of the doubt if it wasn’t for the kicker. Most of “these people” are women, and you would think successful, female, senior executives who probably had to work very hard to get where they are; would really support and encourage the younger women who work for them. HAH! While there is the occasional exception, the majority of women I have worked with are blatantly more fond of their male colleagues and employees, and tend to treat other younger women like secretaries.


So today, I am coming from a place of ARRGGHH!

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