This was originally posted in 2013.
As I move into my 49th year of life, I look back and reflect on how amazing it’s been so far. 26 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 it did. And, I’m especially glad it happened to you, 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 job in the world!
Every now and then I need to remind myself of this. Now, 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 can tell you story after story of things that went terribly wrong; days when hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost because of some mix up, where I dishonored people and messed up relationships, where nothing seem 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 at you and say he will never give again.
But through all of this, I still believe we have the greatest job ever. Why?
Because as fundraisers we are brokers of love. There is no other way to 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 more wealthy, healthy and happy they are. So, not only are we helping to alleviate great needs 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 when I’ve been sitting in a meeting with folks and an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude comes over me. 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 a daily basis.
If you don’t believe me, just ask two ex-Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, what has been most transforming in their lives. Both of them will tell you that it was NOT being President of the United States, but rather, the ability to raise money to help stop suffering and make significant change in our world.
What you and I get to do every day is life changing stuff – taking a need and turning it toward hope, helping donors find joy in their lives 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!