Who are you? What will you leave behind?You have the greatest job in the world. Think about it – every day you have the opportunity to help someone find joy and meaning in his life by helping him meet a need he feels passionate about.
And in doing so, you also have the privilege to help a donor create and leave a legacy. That is an amazing gift that you are able to give a donor. Whenever you are in a dark place and in the thick of it, try to remember what you actually do every day.
But another legacy I want to talk about is the one YOU leave. Do you ever think about that? What type of legacy do you want to be remembered for? It could be at your current job, in your profession as a major gift fundraiser, or as a human being. How do you want to be thought of?
I don’t care if you are 23 or 83, it’s good to think about that question because it helps drive how we live TODAY. How do you want to live your life? As it pertains to your profession, what kind of fundraiser do you want to be? What do you want to leave behind to help your profession? How would donors talk about you? What will your colleagues say you left behind?
I’m going to give you some legacy questions to think about. When you have some time away from the daily work, consider answering them. Perhaps you can do this when you go away for a retreat day or when you take some time in quiet by yourself. Maybe you will leave this near your workspace as a reminder.

  1. Did I listen to my donors? Would my donors say I took the time with them to really understand their passions and interests?
  2. Have I been kind? Did I treat my colleagues, my boss and my donors well? Did I show empathy toward others?
  3. Was I a good steward of resources, using the means I had available to deepen relationships with donors? Did I think about my organization’s needs and how to do the best work I could?
  4. How did I conduct myself with my colleagues, bosses and donors? Was I a positive person, did I communicate appropriately and try to be professional, yet warm and caring?
  5. Did I always seek to help my donors find joy? Did I do all I could to strengthen relationships so that donors were inspired to give of their resources to alleviate some sort of suffering in our world?
  6. In all the busyness of my work, did I take time to make my profession better? Did I mentor younger fundraisers, or volunteer and reach out to others?
  7. Was I able to take counsel without letting my ego control me or by getting defensive? But rather, was I someone that opened my palms and allowed others to speak truth into my life, take that truth in, and allow it to change me?
  8. Did I love fundraising? Was I passionate about being the bridge between the donor’s desire to change the world and some of the world’s greatest needs? Did that bring me joy?

These are important questions for you as a major gift fundraiser. In the end, it’s not about our status, or how much money we made or didn’t make. It’s about the impact we’ve left on others and on our planet that matters.
What will be your legacy?