Recognize Your Senior Colleagues
I was in a hotel room on business the other night when I heard a report that age 60 is the new 40. Dr. Michael Roizen, chief medical wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, said your chronological age isn't your biological or real age. New research argues, according to Erika Edwards at NBC News, that as life expectancy continues to rise, age 60 should not be considered old. This age should be considered middle age, because these days many people, for a variety of reasons, embark on second or third careers that could include philanthropy. The experts say exercise daily, managing stress, sticking to a healthy diet and not smoking is important. I also believe having a confident attitude and outlook is important. My mother always said the key to good health and a happy life is "having something to look forward to."
Let's now think about colleagues in the senior stage of their careers in the development field. Many of these individuals have worked for at least five to seven not-for-profits and have been leaders in the community. They have been the ones that provide lectures on various topics, at times write on nonprofit trends and served as executives of professional fundraising groups. Many have mentored young professionals and helped countless others get jobs in and out of the profession. They have made a career helping generate tremendous amounts of time, talent and treasure for their organizations plus others in a volunteer capacity. They have been in the top of their profession. These role models now find themselves in their 60s. While they may just be entering middle age according to research, they have decided after all of these years to leave the profession. Does anyone care or has anyone made any effort to recognize them for a job well done?
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), there are currently more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. According to the 2012 report by the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, nonprofit employment represents 10.1 percent of the total employment in the United States with total employees numbering 10.7 million. The nonprofit workforce is the fourth largest of all U.S. industries behind retail, trade and manufacturing. We all have read that Baby Boomers were individuals born between 1946 and 1962. According to Newsmax, 10,000 baby boomers are expected to retire each day for the next 19 years. Many of those boomers currently work in the nonprofit industry. At some point they will call their philanthropic work career over.
Why am I citing all of these statistics? All of us in the profession age and at some point need to make a decision to call it a career. Some of us will move on to a new career outside of fundraising, some will consult and others will simply retire to volunteerism or being the greatest grandparent in the world. We cannot stop the revolution of the third rock from the sun. We can, however, take a moment to recognize our senior professionals, living or dead, for a job well done.
Three cases in point. A dear friend and colleague died while working this year. This individual was a former president of several organizations and a community leader. No one did more for philanthropy. Yet his death was not properly recognized in my opinion. Another individual who was also a senior colleague and leader of philanthropy retired. I did not know about the retirement until one year later by accident, and I go to many community activities in the profession. A third long-time colleague retired and is now consulting. No one acknowledged his departure or his 40-plus years of service for others. We do a great job recognizing others, but can we do a better job recognizing our own colleagues?
My point is the following for any organization that deals with fundraising professionals: Please take one moment at the end of each operational year to acknowledge those professional colleagues who have retired or have died during the year. Invite them and their families to lunch. They may not say it but will be pleased that someone acknowledged their long tenure. They have earned it and deserved it.
Everything begins and ends for all of us. Recognize your senior colleagues. You will be a senior professional in a blink of an eye.
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. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.