Right this moment, your head is down, running full speed, until you reach the end of this holiday season. Your hand is cramped from writing so many notes, your heart is beating fast, and you don’t quite know how you will make it through.
So, why the blog on who you really are and your unique qualities as a fundraiser? Because I believe it is only when we step back and get a little space that we’re reminded of our true purpose. Then, we can go back to our tasks with renewed energy, creativity, and possibility.
And your hand does need a break!
At Veritus, we talk a lot about how you are the bridge between your donors’ passions and interests and the good work of your organization. You are the bridge helping meet needs in both directions. The needs of your mission and the needs of your donors.
Who You Are…
When I asked the Veritus team how they saw you, they shared the descriptors below. It would be so easy to just skim the list and say, yeah ok, I might agree with some of that. But I want you to take a few minutes to let this list settle in. I want you to feel it and experience who you really are.
Take one word at a time and say it out loud or silently to yourself, then reflect on how that quality shows up in your work as a fundraiser and in your life.
Here’s an example:
I am… courageous.
“I was courageous when I… made 10 calls to donors I didn’t know well yet.”
Now here’s the whole list for you to try this out for yourself:
- Committed to a better world
- Have a High EQ
Many of us are only focusing on the very long list of tasks still on our list, which saps our energy and leaves us feeling discouraged. I hope that walking through this list gave you some insight into some moments of celebration, and maybe a few surprises about who you are and the incredible work you are doing as a fundraiser every day!
What you do for donors….
As you are embracing who you are and are being the bridge between the donor and your mission, you are also doing some incredible things for donors that have nothing to do with money. Here are just a few of them…
Donors feel more fully alive and human….
Matt Gill, a Veritus Client Experience Leader, shared this about how he sees you: “I love when fundraisers are able to unlock wells of compassion within donors that the donors didn’t even know were there. Fundraisers are able to help donors become more truly themselves and live into their values more deeply.” Have you ever thought about the fact that right now, with all the touch points and thank you notes and asking for a gift, you are giving donors the opportunity to live more fully, be more alive, and be more human?
Donors feel heard and shown a path to resolution…
One fundraiser on a live VGA call shared that she sees herself as a counselor, listening deeply, asking open-ended questions, sharing ideas, and helping donors connect with their true passion and interests. Then she partners with them to develop a plan of action to serve that need through their giving.
Donors heal from pain and trauma…
Another fundraiser shared that she worked with an organization with a mission to fight cancer. When she asks her donors about their interest and passion for giving, the majority of them have either personally experienced or had someone close to them experience cancer. Many of them have lost family and loved ones. Their giving back to help others is part of their healing journey. Their giving helps those being served but also is part of healing their own trauma.
Donors get to learn and explore their authentic selves…
When, like a coach, you are present, listening and asking great open-ended questions to donors, you are holding up the mirror so that they can learn about who they are and more authentically see themselves. As you share the complexities behind the causes of the problem your organization is solving, you also educate. Through this education, donors learn, grow, and explore their why. Why do they care? What is behind their passion? And in doing so, they can live more authentic lives.
There is one caveat to this conversation that is really important to me. You are all these things, creating these incredible moments for donors, not because you get every task done, do everything perfectly, or are working 60-hour weeks.
You’re accomplishing this by showing up authentically and creating space for this magic to happen. The more you give yourself the gift of kindness, empathy, and curiosity, the more you’ll be able to give these gifts to your donors.
Okay, I hope your hand is feeling a bit better! And that you feel inspired to return to your tasks with some renewed energy, creativity, and purpose.