How I Fell in Love with Fundraising
Wait, did you read that right? Does someone out there actually LOVE to do fundraising? It’s true. I have loved fundraising since high school, when we first got to know each other. Now we have a long-term committed relationship that gets better every year!
Last week three of my nieces graduated from high school. One of my niece’s friends pulled me aside at a graduation party to ask about my career in non-profit. Madison is considering pursuing a career working with non-profits because of how much she enjoyed helping her student organization with fundraisers and service projects. I could relate!
When I was in high school I joined a student organization called Future Community Leaders of America. We did volunteer service projects and raised money for non-profits. Every year we participated in Walk America to benefit the March of Dimes. We toured a local NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to see first hand why helping to prevent premature birth was so important. I helped our team to raise over $6,000 (3x more than ever before) by adding a little more planning, a few new ideas, a lot of enthusiasm, and a strong desire to make a difference for those tiny babies. We ended up receiving an award for raising more than any other group of youth at the Walk that year.
I was hooked. The feeling of using my time and talents to “make the world a better place” was intensely satisfying. It took me a few more years to realize that I could make a career out of that feeling and enjoy it all the time instead of only when volunteering. I ended up graduating from Colorado State University with a Human Development degree focused on non-profit management. I went on to complete a master’s certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership. In the last 22 years I have been a staff member, board member, committee member, event chairperson, volunteer, donor, sponsor, and now consultant – for dozens of wonderful non-profits.
I’m still hooked on that feeling. I’m still in love with fundraising because of that feeling. I can’t imagine any other career that would be as satisfying to me. I was able to encourage Madison to pursue the opportunity to have that feeling too – as her career.
Do you still get that feeling that your efforts are helping to make the world a better place? What are you passionate about? Do you remember why you started volunteering or fundraising? What is the mission of the organization? What difference are you trying to make? Sometimes when you get burned out or frustrated and want to give up, the best thing you can do is reconnect to this feeling.