Time to Grow?
When I interviewed for my job here four years ago, I came in kind of blindly. I knew the parent company — North American Publishing Co. — produced trade publications, but I didn’t know what sort of magazine, specifically, NAPCO was launching.
When I found out it was about fundraising, I was thrilled. And I went on to tell the president of the Target Marketing Group, who was doing the interview, how intimately involved I had been in fundraising for much of my adult life. And I further went on to talk about car washes and bake sales and — oh, boy! — a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts fundraiser and Krazy for Karaoke Kontest I had organized for various organizations, mostly church and Scout groups.
I breathlessly recounted those stories in both of my subsequent interviews — four people in all.
It’s a miracle I was hired.
A few days later, I realized the true scope of our readership. Our publisher was referring to “small” organizations with budgets of $10 million or less. I was writing about nonprofits with budgets in the billions and annual contributed income in the millions. And donors whose pocket change at any given moment amounted to more than I had ever raised in all my efforts combined.
Talk about humbling. And embarrassing. When I look back on that initial interview, I wonder how child-like (or -ish) I sounded.
But in the months that followed, I came to understand that, at its heart, fundraising is fundraising. Successful strategies rooted in aggressive but well-coordinated communications, faithful stewardship, impeccable courtesy and forthrightness, flexibility, transparency, accountability, a taste for innovation, and an abiding respect for donors work equally well for organizations of all sizes. The budgets, staff sizes and execution might vary from nonprofit to nonprofit, but the DNA is the same.