A Fundraiser's Work-Related Bucket List
Because I am talking about my work-related bucket list, my goal would be to achieve items on this list before I retire from this field. Because I am a senior professional, the window to obtain each item on my list is growing smaller with the passing of time. Let’s look at my list and see if I have achieved any of these special things and which ones are left to mark off the bucket list.
Duke’s Work Bucket List
- Obtain a transformational gift of at least $1 million from an individual, corporation, foundation, association or organization.
- Help create a strategic plan that is used and has stood the test of time.
- Meet a celebrity that has a passion for their own cause.
- Be invited to speak at a national conference on philanthropy either as a keynote presenter or session presenter.
- Write a book on a nonprofit topic that benefits others in the profession.
- Teach a university class on topics relevant to philanthropy;
- Mentor a wide variety of individuals with lasting impact.
- Receive an appreciation letter from your boss for a job well done.
- Help recruit a AAA volunteer board that benefitted a nonprofit.
- Master a social media “app.”
- Obtain a doctorate degree in a field related to philanthropy.
- Receive acknowledgment from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
- Receive a Certified Fundraising Executive Certificate.
- Work for my alma mater (West Virginia University).
- Receive training by national leaders in philanthropic studies.
- Be a mentee to an outstanding mentor.
- Go on a road trip with a senior advisor.
- Work in partnership with another organization.
- Be an example and inspire others
- Feel at the end of the day I made a difference and my career choice was correct.
I compared my work bucket list items with those established by Jane McNeil, 2017 director of Hays Australia. Hays is a worldwide recruiting expert firm. McNeil is an expert in the field of career recruiting. Her thoughts on a career bucket list is as follows:
- I want to work and live in another country.
- I want to be an expert in my field.
- I want to become a mentor.
- I want to learn a new language.
- I want to master a new skill(s).
- I want to gain the confidence to ask for a pay raise and get one.
- I want to become confident in public speaking.
- I want to learn to lead and inspire others.
- I want to be my own boss.
- I want to make sure each CEO of each company I work at knows my name.
- I want to have the courage to speak up for change if I am unhappy in a role.
- I want to achieve something good every day.
- I want to get promoted.
- I want to achieve a healthy and happy work-life balance.
- I want to continually educate myself.
- I want to set a good example for my children.
- I want to be happy and fulfilled in my role.
- I want to retire early.
- I want to use up all my annual leave entitlement.
- I want to work in a variety of industries.
I reviewed my bucket list carefully and have achieved 80 percent of the list. I do not know if this is good or bad, but I will try to obtain 100 percent before I decide to completely retire from the field. One major goal of mine is to write a book at some point and donate it to a university where future students of philanthropy can read of my experiences from the field as I have played every role in the development profession. One item on McNeill’s list that I will never attain is to retire early. When you chose the nonprofit career path, you are doing it for the love of the mission, not the great pay and benefits that would allow one to retire early.
What is your work-related bucket list? Does it mirror mine, McNeill’s or somewhere in the middle? If you are truly a fundraising professional, you may select a transformational gift as a top bucket list item. A fundraiser’s greatest sense of self and satisfaction of accomplishment comes with securing large gifts. I have secured very large gifts and experienced periods of time when large gifts were hard to come by in my career. I did not enjoy the lean times at all and felt that I failed in my job. Create your work bucket list soon, and see if you are making progress toward the 100 percent completion rate. It is always about the quest and not the conquest!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last nine years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 25 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years. He received his doctorate from West Virginia University with an emphasis in philanthropy, masters from Marshall University with an emphasis on resource development and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with emphasis in marketing/management. Currently he is executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division. Contact Duke at email@example.com.