One of the most common sentiments we hear when working with small nonprofits is the sense of isolation that comes with leading an organization. How is this possible? As an Executive Director you are surrounded by people! You report to the Board of Directors and are managing staff and volunteers.
But in the day-to-day you often lack peer support.
As consultants we provide a sounding board for our clients to explore and address leadership issues in a confidential environment. Professional expertise is really valuable for long-term growth as a leader but you can also reduce your sense of isolation by participating in nonprofit learning community programs like those offered by the Center for Nonprofit Excellence or the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) or a regional leader forum in your area.
Another simple step you can take is to engage a colleague outside your organization in a mutually supportive advisory relationship. Communication is often easier between peers than with a more senior mentor. You can make it even more productive by identifying a colleague who excels where you struggle.
If fundraising is your biggest hurdle, meet with a colleague who can offer sound advice from their own experience. Think about your own organization and what successes you might share. Keep it confidential and keep it positive. Your organization will benefit from the boost to your work satisfaction and new ideas that follow.