Transitions: The Power of the Shadow Visit

When was the last time someone on your team joined another fundraiser on a visit with a prospect – not to collaborate on a strategy, but to learn from each other?

Shadowing on prospect visits is a powerful tool we can use as fundraisers and leaders, and one we can implement immediately.

Why should you incorporate shadow visits into your team’s professional development?

  • These visits give a platform for our best talent to share their “secret sauce” with members of the team who are hungry to learn more.  Our high-performing professionals who have honed their skills often want an opportunity to mentor, and shadow visits are a perfect venue!
  • Want to onboard new team members in a meaningful way? Partner them with the development staff who tell your story best, and help them rapidly grow their ability to represent your institution.
  • When you need to expand the approach or style of an employee, having him or her watch another professional in action is a holistic way to do this. Remember to have them build in a debriefing conversation to discuss what they learned.
  • Reverse shadow visits – having a more seasoned team member shadow a junior colleague – are a great way to provide meaningful feedback to our growing team members on their skills.

Shadow visits can support a changing culture in a meaningful way, by facilitating a culture transparency, collegiality, and ongoing learning. It will also support high performance: those who role model strong frontline skills will provide leadership through this tool, and you will see both metrics and numbers of visits grow.

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