What Is Your Passion?
A few weeks ago, I shared that passion for the cause is a key ingredient in a successful (and honest) fundraising professional’s career. If you’re not passionate about the cause that you’re raising funds for, then you are short-changing both yourself and the organization you work for.
I serve on a fraternity foundation board, and we invite donors to fund programs that help college students find causes that they’re passionate about and want to dedicate themselves to working for. This is something that I’m very passionate about.
People can be quietly passionate—the donor whose only engagement is a monthly check or online gift, or the supporter who signs and forwards your online petitions. Or they can be quite excitedly passionate. Like with athletic teams.
The Georgia Bulldogs recently became the top ranked team in the nation and are having their best season since I was a student at University of Georgia. It’s incredible to see the excitement that’s built up behind this team and, in some cases, the university itself. (Many fans, unfortunately, are only connected to the team and not the educational institution.)
I enjoy football and especially the experience of a home game in the fall, tailgating and the energy from a stadium filled with 92,000 fans. However, my real passion isn’t the football team—it’s seeing the university develop incredible leaders for tomorrow.
We show our passion in our priorities and in how we invest our time, money and other resources. It’s what we focus on.
There are great philanthropists worldwide seeking solutions to challenges and asking what if? Philanthropists whose gifts, large and small, are significant and life changing (yes, we believe giving is life changing!) for them and the people impacted by the causes that they believe in. Sometimes my “what if” is if we could marshal the kind of passion, enthusiasm and resources invested in our passion for athletics to change the world.
My hope is that, as nonprofit leaders and volunteers, each of us finds causes to work for that we are truly passionate about—be it quietly or with the enthusiasm of a Bulldog fan. Go ‘Dawgs!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.