“You’re a FUNDRAISER?”
“Gosh, what a hard job!”
“I HATE asking for money.”
These are just a few of the common reactions I get when I tell people that my job involves fundraising. To be clear, my most recent role at Opportunity Nation was focused on developing large-scale strategic partnerships that often involve both cash and in-kind contributions, which is different than frontline fundraising positions with major donor prospects (which I have also held).
I don’t see fundraising as particularly hard. Sure, it’s work, but that’s why they call it a job. But for me, fundraising is a natural extension of who I am and simply requires me to bring myself to my work.
Here are five signs that fundraising might be right for you:
It never feels like an ask. It’s not like I’m pick-pocketing or otherwise bamboozling people out of their hard earned cash. I always tell people that my job is to connect resources to ideas or vision to execution. Without money, an idea is just an idea. It’s resources that bring an idea to life. My job is to bring ideas to life, not to ask for money.
You don’t take rejection personally. When someone rejects my request to connect, meet, or support our work – and they often do – I don’t take it personally. I totally understand that people have different priorities and passions in the world, and that’s a wonderful thing. Besides, creating lasting social change is a life-long endeavor, not a transactional one. The beauty of rejection is that there if often a chance to reconnect sometime down the road, perhaps on something even more meaningful than you currently imagine.
You constantly see the glass half full. There are times I wish I could be more of a pessimist. A door closes and a window opens is a phrase that grates on me, yet when a funder tells me they are cutting our grant, I see three other ways for them to provide additional support to make up the difference.
You give more than you expect to get. People want to talk to you when you have something to offer – insight, advice, connections. I don’t view fundraising as a gimme-gimme kind of role. It’s a role where I have to identify and define mutual benefit for the organizations, but perhaps more importantly, the people who will actually be partnering and working together.
You are a prolific connector and communicator. I love getting responses to emails, learning about new organizations, and the anticipation of meeting someone new. My brain automatically maps connections between people I know. I can look at a list of 1,000 people and come up with something personal I’d want to say to each one. When the world is connected, I feel whole, and the desire to connect is what brings new ideas and social change to life.
Do these characteristics describe you too? What others am I missing? Maybe it’s a sign that you could help nonprofit organizations more successfully achieve their missions as well!