I Never Wanted to Be a Fundraiser
As I move closer to 50 years on this earth, I look back and reflect on how amazing it's been so far. Twenty-eight of those years I have been a fundraiser. I didn't choose fundraising as a career. For those who are my age and older, that's typically the case. I certainly didn't have aspirations to become a fundraiser when I was young kid, nor did I go to school for it.
It just happened.
I'm just so glad I did. And, I'm especially glad you did too. We need good people like you to inspire our industry. We need your passion, drive and energy to move us forward.
Here is a secret I want to let you in on. We have the greatest jobs in the world!
Every now and then I need to remind myself this. I'm not going to lie. There have been some very dark days in my work when I just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I have story after story of things that went terribly wrong. Days when hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost because of some mix-up, days where I dishonored people and messed up relationships, days where nothing seemed to go right.
But, as you know, this is part of our work. There are tremendous highs and incredible lows. One day you are celebrating a big gift and feeling great, and the next day a donor is calling to yell and tell you he will never give again.
But, through all of that, I still believe we have the greatest jobs ever. Why?
Because as fundraisers we are brokers of love. There is no other way I can put it. We are the bridge that brings together the world's greatest needs with a donor's desire and passion to change the world. You and I get to help donors give away money earned from their labor to make the world a better place.
All the books written about what happens to donors when they give away their money all say the same thing: The more people give, the wealthier, healthier and happier they are. So, not only are we helping to alleviate a great need in our society, but also we are actually contributing to the physical and mental health of our donors.
Who else gets to do this stuff? Not many. You do, though.
There have been numerous times in my fundraising career where I'm sitting in a meeting with folks and an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude comes over me and I physically have had to stop the meeting and exclaim, "Is this the greatest job ever or what?"
This is one of those moments. Picture me standing in front of you with a big smile to let you know that of all the professions you could have chosen, this is the greatest. Few people get to do what you do on daily basis.
If you don't believe me, just ask ex-presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton what has been most transforming in their lives. Both of them will tell you raising money to make significant change in the world. Not being President of the United States, but raising money to help stop suffering in the world.
What you and I get to do every day is life-changing stuff. Taking a need and turning it toward hope, helping a donor find joy in her life, and filling yourself with gratitude each day.
Wow, is this the greatest job in the world or what? I'm so glad you and I are fundraisers!
If you like baseball, tennis, golf, Gregorian chant, jazz, rock, good wine and deep conversation, then you’ll like to hang out with Jeff.
If you are passionate about fundraising, Jeff will inspire you to be a true “broker of love” for your donors, helping you bring together a donor’s desire to change the world and the world’s greatest needs. Jeff believes that if nonprofits truly want to grow and obtain more net revenue for their mission, it will come through creating, building and successfully managing major-gift programs. The Connections blog will give you inspiration and practical advice to help you succeed. Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and is senior partner of the Veritus Group.