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Under the Influence

WHO do you know?
I ask that question a lot in my work. After all, fundraising and nonprofit management are all about creating and managing opportunity.
When I go to my “Contacts” I realize that I do know an awful lot of people – and many of them are ones you would describe as quite influential.  But I would have to say that my work, and the way I approach it – keeps me under the radar.

As a consultant, I work behind the scenes, guiding organizations and people to strategies and solutions that suit them and hopefully make them successful – more able to advance their missions. I have learned that, although there are many consultants out there, handing out advice to everyone from farmers to physicians, consultants don’t, as a rule, get much respect – which I attribute to large egos and little substance (and sometimes, gargantuan fees!). And yet, everyone seems to want to retain a consultant. Knowing that people can have disdain for our lot, I have chosen to position myself uniquely –  akin to the back-up singer and studio musician – maybe that’s why “20 Feet from Stardom” and “Standing In the Shadows of Motown” are two of my favorite movies. I am providing the best harmony and the most creative riffs to make the song memorable and indomitable. My work backstage leads to an organization and its mission  basking in the spotlight.  That’s my job and I love it.

It’s only natural, I think, to want to get credit and recognition in your work and for people to regard you as a person of influence. But I’d rather have credibility than influence.  I feel like a person with influence but maybe not the same way we have deigned to describe such an individual.  I am not the first on the invite list, the one who people are buzzing about or the one you “need” to be seen with.  But my brand of influence is authentic, consistent and genuine.  I am deeply loyal and meticulously attentive.  I have cast a wide net over the years, a couple hundred organizations and over a thousand professionals and volunteers in my tow.

Who do YOU know?  If you know ME, you really are in the know, even if no one knows it! :)

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