The Secret Damage you might be doing to your Nonprofit Career Right now

Here’s an email I got recently from a reader.

She is struggling with something you might be struggling with too.

Can you relate?


I am struggling with a mistake that I made. I don’t know how to come to terms with it. In a nutshell, here is what is eating me:

My boss, who was our development director, was promoted to executive director. Naturally the development dir. position became open. I have been at my job for (as corporate & foundation relations director) for several years. I considered applying but just kept coming back to not wanting to deal with getting our board to fundraise. And I don’t really have major gift experience. So anyway I didn’t apply.

We hired someone, and I am now filled with regret that I didn’t apply. At least if I had tried and didn’t get it, I would feel I had done everything I could to advance. But I am really regretting it, especially because I need to make more money, and after receiving just a 2% increase after my last review, I am discouraged about my prospects for advancing here.

I think the real reason I didn’t apply: I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t believe in my abilities, and I should have. I am GOOD at my job. And I know a lot about the organization. So, I am struggling to move past the regret I feel, and accept the new boss. Do you have any advice for me?


Here’s what I wrote to her:

I’m sorry you didn’t apply, you probably could have done a super job at the Development Director job.

You might want to go to another organization that will support you to move up to that job. It doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of training for you to go where you want to go in this current job, or anyone looking out for your career. If this new DD has major gifts experience, and you want that, maybe you could ask her to teach you, or ask your new ED if you could go with her on some calls? That way you’d start getting the experience you need to move on up.

It’s hard when it’s a confidence thing!

I am going to work more personally with people this year on this issue, because it’s time for us to step up as women and leaders.

Here’s the big mistake I see us making, as fundraisers


I do see women having a problem with confidence in our field. And it’s hard when sexism is on top of that.

How do you get more assertive in your career? Listen to the interview with Elaine Lou at the link below!

If you want 65 more fundraising career resources, just go here.

If you want 99 more nonprofit leadership resources, click on over here.

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