Pro Speak: Slow Going but Growing
Fundraising is very young in Russia. The industry is very much in its infancy, and practitioners there are doing their best to learn everything they can — which isn't always easy. Consider the wide variety of books and other publications, webinars, and Web sites that we have available to us in English. There are precious few materials available in Russian. At the Master School this year, the first fundraising handbook written in Russian was distributed.
Individual organizations still are in the basic stages of building their cases and attracting donors. There are few (if any) capital campaigns or endowments ?being created.
One very exciting activity occurred at the end of the first day of the event. The group did some brainstorming about forming a professional association. I had the privilege of offering my input as attendees thought about what associations could do for them.
No doubt, it was an amazing trip for me. Here are the things I came home with:
1. I'm very grateful for what I have — my country, my community, my friends, my family. There's nothing like being without these things to make you appreciate them more!
2. Fundraising in the United States is not hard — we've just gotten lazy. It's a simple process, and we live in the land of plenty. We need to collectively get off our rumps and go out and tell our stories. Then ask for a gift. Simple as that.
3. We have tremendous resources available to us. If we aren't sure what to do, we have ample places to turn, such as:
? the Association of Fundraising Professionals and other groups;
? books, magazines, Web sites, audioconferences and more;
? consultants, coaches and ?mentors.
I came home and warned my friends and clients: Don't whine ?to me about fundraising! If you think it's hard here, go to Russia and try it!