A Christmas Wish
Christmas just passed. I’m a Christian (Katrina) married to a Buddhist (Otis). I’m a peer-to-peer fundraising expert. He’s a social psychologist.
Spiritually, we concur on much. Professionally, we concur on much.
On one thing, we overlap completely: The path to joy is through service to others. That is our purpose. That is what our different spiritual journeys have taught us that we should do — serve our community.
We work with people, like you, who serve others every day. Sometimes we get confused and think we do this for a paycheck; sometimes we get confused and think we do this to hit a fundraising goal; sometimes we get confused and think we do this to please a boss. That confusion brings us no joy.
Sometimes we make choices that enable us to get a paycheck, make a fundraising goal or please a boss, but don’t serve the people we are supposed to be serving. We get confused by the pressure. We make short-term decisions that hurt our true purpose in the long run.
We know it, because those choices make us feel joyless and purposeless. We push aside the negative feelings and try to pretend they don’t matter. Over time, though, those decisions eat at us, diminish us.
Every religion and every social scientist who studies human motivation says the same thing: You will find joy and purpose through serving others. Even actuaries say it in their own special way: Stop working (lose purpose), and you will likely die. Usually, quickly.
The gift we wish for you this time of the year is the discipline to experience the joy that you deserve. We wish for you the discipline to focus your gaze on the people you serve — not your boss or your fundraising goal. Focus your gaze on the person with cancer, the person who is homeless, the person is hungry, the person is afraid. We wish for you the gift of experiencing the joy that you have already earned. We celebrate your choice to do this work. To serve. To have purpose beyond yourself. To love fully.
The path to joy is through service to others.
Stay on the path.
Katrina VanHuss has been instilling passion in volunteer fundraisers since 1989 when she founded Turnkey. Otis joined in the fun in 2013 as Turnkey’s resident human behavior expert. One thing led to another, and now as a married couple, they almost never stop talking about fundraising, volunteerism and human decision-making, much to the chagrin of most dinner companions.
Through their work at Turnkey, the pair works with the likes of the American Lung Association, Best Buddies, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, using human behavioral tendencies and recognition to create attachment and high fundraising in volunteers.
Katrina and Otis present regularly at clients’ national conferences, as well as at BBCon, NonProfit Pro P2P and Peer to Peer Forum, and are the co-authors of the 2017 book, Dollar Dash. They live in Richmond, Va.