Agency or Organization? Tips From Someone Who Made the Move
When I was child I had two dreams of what my future would look like. I was fully committed and convinced I'd grow up to be either Dr. Dolittle or Carol Burnett. I would divide my time between standing in front of a mirror reciting her monologues and perfecting my "Eunice," and standing at the edge of my backyard willing all the forest creatures to come to me.
One of my most vivid memories is finding out that "The Carol Burnett Show" was going off the air and running through the house crying uncontrollably because I wasn't yet old enough to take her place.
But, as kids are wont to do, I bounced back. I focused my life on becoming one with the animals. Stalking squirrels, chasing ducks around my grandparents' farm, staring into my dog's eyes for hours at a time willing him to understand me. You can imagine my shock the day my mom sat me down and said, "Jo, you're being weird. Your cousins are uncomfortable around you, and Mary from church thinks maybe I should take you to a psychiatrist. Now stop it."
That was enough for me. Nobody wants to be weird, so I channeled my animal obsession and carefully focused my energy on things I knew I could help. I began supervised volunteer trips to the local shelter and fostered animals while they were waiting for adoption. That experience shaped completely who I am, and when life brought me to New York City, I knew fate had given me the chance to make childhood dreams real and work for the ASPCA.
I sent my résumé for more than a year. I stalked, watched, interviewed, begged and even cried. Until once again my mom told me I was being weird. So I tried a different angle, and before long, I found myself on a journey that would shape my adulthood. Every single day, I came to work knowing I was saving puppies and kitties. How does it get any better? How much closer could I get to the backyard calling to animals that I'm here to help?
So, I'm a fundraiser having a mid-life crisis. And that's perfectly fine with me.
I am taking time to look around, lift my head and find REAL people who really want to change the world. And people smart enough to do it. Join me in this fun journey. I have no idea where we will end up - and that is the beauty of it. I'm nonprofit passionate, a hopeful world changer, and always ready to share what I know, learn what I don't, admit when I can't, and ask the hard questions.
While you're looking around for other areas of inspiration, check out The Moth Project at themoth.org (the podcasts are AMAZING), TED talks (doesn't matter which ones - find topics that interest you) and Volunteer Voices (again - love the podcast) written by volunteers from the Peace Corps. Don't see the immediate connection to being a better fundraiser? Just listen, you'll hear the message ...