Mentorship: The Key to Minimizing Burnout

By Joshua Miller-Myers, CFRE, Strategy Development Manager at Public Health Management Corporation

Being a fundraising professional comes with plenty of rewards: we come up with creative solutions that advance the mission of our organization and support the communities we serve.

However, there comes a lot of stress with the profession.

According to a 2019 Survey conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, even though 80% of fundraisers are satisfied with their job, nearly half of the respondents said they were likely to leave their job within the next two years. Additionally, a third of respondents planned to leave fundraising altogether within the next two years.

Anyone who’s been in a fundraising role understands why there are such high turnover rates: we feel tremendous pressure to succeed while often feeling under-appreciated in our role. These competing feelings mean we must find a way to make our profession more sustainable.

Research indicates that mentoring is one way to support job stability. A 2016 study by Deloitte concluded that young professionals planning to stay with their current employer for at least five years were twice as likely to have a mentor than not. I can attest to this, because I’ve benefited from having a mentor in my career.

I signed up for the AFP-GPC Mentor Program and got matched with a great fundraiser who was able to help me navigate my career. She coached me on issues like creating a development plan and how to build a culture of philanthropy at my organization. Years later, my mentor continues to be a colleague I rely-on and a close friend. She even planned my bachelor party! It’s because of her support that I remain a committed fundraising professional today.

Because I’m so grateful to her help, I decided to pay it forward and sign up to be a mentor myself. AFP-GPC taught me that in order to be a good mentor, you only need the following quality: a willingness to share your skills, knowledge, and expertise. From there, AFPGPC will help you strengthen your skills as a coach and a seasoned fundraising professional, allowing you to pass along your wisdom.

As fundraisers, we’re committed to building a sense of community; we do it with our donors every day. But we can also build a strong fundraiser community by helping the next generation be more sustainable and effective in their jobs. That’s why I urge all experienced fundraisers to lend their skills as mentor and support your younger colleagues!

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