How to Quit Your Job
If you work in the fundraising profession, over time, you will find this job gratifying, energizing, rewarding and self-fulfilling. You will also find your job tiring, demanding, difficult, unappreciative and frustrating. During my career in the fundraising profession, I experienced a sustained high and periods of lows when I thought seriously about quitting my job. In fact, at the midpoint of my career, because I felt so unsupported, I paid $15,000 to a consultant who I thought would secure a new job for me in another career path.
In that crazy period, I dyed my hair to look younger, videotaped a presentation about myself and sought out many high-level CEOs who might provide me with important career insight. I wanted to find out if I should go into government, business or stay in the nonprofit profession. Frankly, the entire process of self-examination was a waste of time and significant money. I decided to re-channel my focus, appreciate my profession, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and seek to appreciate the nonprofit profession for what it is. I also changed jobs to recharge my batteries.
I am not alone in having feelings of wanting to quit my job. A 2019 survey from The Chronicle of Philanthropy found 51% of fundraisers plan to leave their jobs by 2021. Stress was noted as a main reason for the desire to quit. Many of the respondents’ reasons for wanting to quit included pressure, feeling unappreciated and being unhappy with prospects for promotion.
If fundraisers leave the profession, a problem arises as to filling the vacancies. It is important to hire wisely and learn from past mistakes. How can you retain fundraising professionals? What is causing a significant profession issue? How can you build a culture of organizational engagement that appreciates the worth of fundraisers? These are excellent questions to consider, and answers must be created for both the short and long term.
Do executives give deep thought as to leaving their jobs or is it an emotional reaction to a dreadful day or sustained period of negative work reactions? Blue Avocado developed several indicators through talking to a number of executives, for nonprofit executives to review, that will help them know when it is time to leave an organization.
- The organization needs to go in a new direction, and I am not the right person for it.
- I am burned out and I know it.
- I do not think I am burned out, but others think I am.
- I cannot stand my board anymore.
- My clock is ticking.
- Family roles are calling me.
It takes a great deal of courage to know when to quit.
Joan Garry stated that executives who are not sure about their status moving forward show signs of leaving their organization. Many executives leave because of family obligations, they know it is time because there is someone good in the wings, or they felt they accomplished everything they set out to do with their organization. You should begin to plan your exit when you are not learning anything new and have more passion for family than work. Every executive should investigate your mirror and design a plan to leave plus know when to use it. Be extremely thoughtful about knowing when it is time to leave your organization.
Job site Indeed shared some valid reasons to leave a job. Signs provided include underusing skills, not following your passion, work environment is unhealthy, no opportunities for growth, and the company’s future is in question.
Other reasons to consider leaving your job include compromised ethics, gross undercompensation, misaligned values with the organization, inability to fulfill job responsibilities, better opportunities at another organization, need for more work-life balance, work dread, no long-term commitment to stay there, no desire to recommend organization to friends, and an overwhelming feeling about work. If you decide to quit, make sure you have another position lined up before resigning. If you still want to stay at your job, talk to your supervisor and seek to find a satisfying solution to keep you there.
Regardless of the reason, you need to resign in a professional manner. Experts at Sling suggest following the steps in its resigning playbook.
- Finalize the details of your new job.
- Complete all major responsibilities first.
- Do not talk about resigning until you actually resign.
- Be professional at all times.
- Create a transition plan.
- Write a resignation letter.
- Prepare a reason for leaving.
- Resign face-to-face.
- Give plenty of notice.
- Offer to help train your replacement.
- Be prepared for a counter-offer.
- Continue to work hard.
- Participate in an exit interview.
- Plan ahead to be escorted off of the premises.
- Quit in the most positive way possible.
Understand that leaving a position is emotional for you and others around you, according to Charity Village. Seek to leave a job with a very cheerful outlook. If you are leaving a negative environment, leave quickly and cleanly. Decide how your remaining time in your position will be and how long that period will eventually last. Determine if you will remain in a social media relationship with your organization. Decide if you will have a clean break from your former organization or stay engaged with them in some manner.
You build a reputation by every action you take in life, so Lighthouse insists you make sure you leave your organization in a positive way. It is always easier to leave if you have a succession planning model in place and have a successor in mind. Spend time to select the next executive who can take your organization to another level. Provide plenty of transition time between your announced departure and exit.
How much thought have you given to quitting your various positions in the nonprofit sector? Research says the average tenure of a fundraising position is four-and-a-half years. If you make fundraising a career, you are going to quit jobs several times. Think of the personal impact resigning has or will have on you, your family and the organization you are leaving. Make sure you think this scenario through and, if you leave, exit in a positive way with another job in your pocket. Do not ever burn bridges, even if that would make you feel good. Always have a career strategy in mind.
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.