In Your Fundraising Career, 'To Thine Own Self Be True'
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
One of my many roles in life is to mentor and provide counsel when asked. I have a weakness in that I care deeply about others and want to help. There is not a week that goes by without someone calling or asking to meet with me for advice. I always say I am glad to help but also advise people to counsel with others to obtain the broadest perspective.
In the last several weeks, I have talked to individuals who have lost their jobs, are about to lose their jobs, not happy in their current jobs and those seeking a career advancement position. Each case was different, but unfortunately I saw a common thread.
It didn't matter what age or sex of the individual I talked to, the questions asked of me showed a lack of self-confidence, self-desire, confusion and reliance on others to set a personal course of action. I noticed sadness, fear, uncertainty and a lack of direction. In some cases, I previously knew the individuals when they were confident, clear in purpose and knew where they wanted to go. Because of poor choices, bad work situations and bad advice from too many people, I noticed broken and shaken professionals.
In some of these meetings, I could not completely help them because of their lack of focus and direction. They could not ask me questions; they were expecting me to provide them with their personal road maps for the future. To thine own self be true rang in my ear.
If you are true to yourself, you live life for yourself and not let others try to influence you to do things you don't want to do. You need to act according to your personal convictions and beliefs rather than acting to please others. If you do this, you will have peace and be happier in the long run.
I encouraged my mentees to do a self SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats) personal analysis. If you are interested in a nonprofit, map the geographical areas of interest. Determine what you have passion for such as health care, education, social services, etc., and note what organizations are located in your geographical areas of preference. Network and seek opportunities to engage others. Know yourself and your personality, plus understand your strengths and weaknesses.
You are responsible for your own choices and career direction. Look in the mirror and think about where you were happiest in previous jobs. Think about the culture of the organization.
Someone recently talked to me about opportunities, and she lived in a rural area. I would assume opportunities in that context would be limited. I told her she may have to move to obtain the job she really wanted. The point is, you must put your marketing hat on and do the hard work and analysis. Obtaining, maintaining and sustaining in our profession is not easy. At the end of the day, the only one you can truly lean on is you. I agree with William Shakespeare. Trust yourself, go with your gut and seek to thrive, not just survive!
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.