This month, two of my favorite bloggers — the dead-on Jeff Brooks and the aridly witty Trent Stamp — make appearances and do what they do best, which is tell it like it is. And being the editor means that I can steal a little of their thunder (sorry, guys) by using my column to preview their stellar thoughts.
In Easier Said Than Done, “How to Love Fundraising,” Jeff says that if you’re a fundraiser and you don’t actually like fundraising, then by all means get out of the biz and make room for someone who does. He addresses elements of fundraising that fundraisers themselves sometimes struggle with and that keep them from being as effective as possible for their organizations.
Fundraising is about creativity. It’s about innovation. And it’s about passion. If you’re not passionate, for whatever reason, about both your mission and fundraising itself, you’re doing your organization and the cause it champions a disservice.
But don’t start checking Craigslist for new jobs just yet. First, find a way to shake things up: Attend a conference you’ve never attended before. Join a cyber society of your fellows in fundraising and latch on to their enthusiasm. Rearrange your office. Light an aromatherapy candle for inspiration. (Try some ylang ylang.)
Point is … take a look at your work, your enthusiasm, your capacity for the fearless pursuit of innovation. If they’re not what they should be, fix them. If you just can’t do it, then maybe it is time to try another career path.
More important Words to Live By come from Trent. “Your Anonymous Donor Hates You” is a brilliant examination of the emerging trend toward anonymous philanthropy.
As Trent explains, most donors who give anonymously aren’t compelled to do so out of some deep sense of humility or rarefied altruism. They’re just tired of the way the charities they support make them feel. Whether that means they don’t like being treated like ATM machines and inundated with poorly timed asks; or ignored and never thanked; or sold, rented or otherwise traded to other organizations and even major retailers, it comes down to this: People love to give, but not so much that they’ll tolerate being treated disrespectfully.
The anonymous-giving trend could well be a warning from your donors: Treat me right or kiss me goodbye. And that warning calls for another round of self-examination on the part of all nonprofits. Are you treating your donors right? If not, why not, and what are you going to do about it? And one final question: What are you going to do when they dump you?