20 Lessons Learned From Other Nonprofit Fundraising Professionals
You assume from the title that it is a silly guide and has no real meaning for senior professionals. In truth, the art and science of our profession demand that we always start at the basics of technique and seek to build our knowledge base from scratch. This comprehensive guide consists of 28 chapters of important facts designed for those who want to learn about fundraising from ground zero. It is an excellent reference guide.
What I love about fundraising and not-for-profit management is the fact that you meet so many people who influence you along the way. If you are lucky, you maintain long-term relationships with a few of them. Regardless of the role they play in an organization, they provide fresh insights on how to test theories or launch new practices.
After all of these years, I still love to be challenged by others who want to learn more about their craft. How many of you have stopped and thought about lessons learned from other professionals or those whom you worked for?
The recent Memorial Day made me think about those wonderful peers I have lost during my career. These individuals touched me in many ways. I learned so much from them. Here are a few lessons they passed along:
- It is all about relationships. Plant seeds, water them and watch them grow.
- It is never about you, but it is about the institution you serve.
- Be honest, ethical and professional in every instance.
- It is all about building trust and respect.
- Always engage volunteers, and value their opinions.
- Study the mission statement, and learn to live by it.
- Never use more than your first and last name.
- Wear your name tag on the right side so someone can see it when shaking hands.
- We are responsible for the professionalism of our profession.
- One of our chief responsibilities is that of being a teacher.
- Always call the donor after a significant gift is made to say thanks.
- Make sure the solicitor is the right person to ask for a gift.
- Do not be afraid to share information with others.
- Never burn bridges, but build them.
- If you work for a not-for-profit, volunteer for another one to see both sides.
- Think of your role as part of a long career, not just a job.
- Inspire others with your passion - people will know if it is real.
- Care about others more than yourself.
- It is always better to give than receive.
- We promote what is good in society.
We cannot control one's perception of us. We can only control our actions. Think about thoughts gleaned from others that you can build upon for success in your own career. Remember that we always seek time, talent and treasure, and the quest never ends.
At the end of the day, when I close the book on my career, it will not be how I was remembered but the fact that I was remembered that would mean the most to me. If you could write a book on your career, what would the title say about you? Always strive to learn from others. You will grow in ways you have never imagined!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.