Joy at Work

I love being a fundraiser and I always say that, for me, fundraising isn’t a job but a calling.

So I got excited listening to Shankar Vedantam’s recent podcast, “How to Build a Better Job,” where he interviewed Amy Wrzesniewski, Ph.D., Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management. My ears perked up because I know not every fundraiser is happy in her job. And there lots of reasons for that. (Psst! I don’t believe that there is a perfect job – one that will make you ridiculously happy. After all, that comes from inside YOU.)

“People who see their work as a calling are significantly more satisfied with their jobs, they are significantly more satisfied with their lives,” notes Amy. “They are more engaged with what they’re doing and they tend to be better performers, regardless of what the work is.”

This is great news. Because many of us in the nonprofit space are passionate about what we do. And sometimes, passion isn’t enough.

My maternal grandfather, T. Thompson, with his logging truck in 1943.

My maternal grandfather, T. Thompson, with his logging truck in 1943.

The truth is that too many within the sector work (or have worked) in nonprofits that are dysfunctional, have poor decision-making, or lack appropriate human resource guidance – to disastrous consequences.

In other cases, sometimes fundraisers become discouraged and leave because they aren’t allowed to do the jobs for which they were hired, are unable to unleash their creativity, or are blocked from making any decisions, even within the job scope.

This is where Job Crafting can come into play.

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Gear up for Gratitude Camp!

Ready for some adventure?!

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If you’ve been a long-time follower on my blog, you know that once or twice a year my BFF and I host Gratitude Camp. I hope you’ll join us April 4!

It sounds like a bunch of fun – and it is! – but more importantly it is about focusing on donors, and showing them the #donorlove.

Here are the facts, according to the 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Project:

  • Donor retention in North America in 2015 was still rather bleak – 46%.
  • For every $100 raised in 2015, $91 was lost through gift attrition.
  • For every 100 donors gained in 2015, 96 were lost through attrition.
  • We know that a simple 10% increase in retention can lead to a 200% increase in lifetime donor value.

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Who Gave You Good Stewardship?

Hey fundraisers!

I want to hear about the most fabulous stewardship YOU have ever received from a nonprofit.

What – to a fundraiser – makes a thank you extra special?

What – for a fundraiser – clearly and emotionally shows the impact of a gift?

I asked two of my BFFs about their favorites – Shanon Doolittle and John Lepp. Both of them had told me about some amazing stewardship pieces that keep them giving and feeling great.

Shanon gets a big thanks from Amara.  

Shanon loves Amara because fostering kids – and giving them a forever home – are important to Shanon. She has been involved with Amara in a variety of ways, and she was their key speaker at their gala fundraiser last fall (and her ask helped them raise the most money ever!).

What she loves about it: The card was a child’s birthday card –  which fits perfectly with their mission. She loves the sentiment “it made me think of kids and all the kids who will now be touch and helped thanks to your leadership and involvement. Roar.”

What I love about it: I love this because the sentiment is simple and heartfelt. No list of all the wonderful things about Shanon. It drives home how Shanon is making a better life for kids. Can you imagine picking up a basic card from the store and changing it into a tear-jerker?

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Recap of Love Your Job, Love Your Life

Fundraising heroes, nonprofit friends and craziness! L to R, Simone Joyaux, Tom Ahern, me and Shanon Doolittle

Fundraising heroes, nonprofit friends and craziness! L to R, Simone Joyaux, Tom Ahern, me and Shanon Doolittle

 

I just returned from Baltimore, Maryland. The 2015 Association of Fundraising Professionals conference was a cracker this year!

I had such a delightful time joining my pal, Shanon Doolittle, in a presentation on how to thrive in work and life as a fundraiser.

As fundraisers, we can be very passionate about our work – but sometimes it can lead to burn out. Or, it can steal from the time you want to spend with friends, family, or pursuing a hobby or education.

Because I care about our profession SO MUCH and Shanon is keen to ensure we continue to be high-fiving do-gooders, she and I curated a book!

You can download the e-book here: 9 to Thrive: Strategies to Build a Heart Happy Life and Career.

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Why We Ms.Rupt

I want to tell you about a project that Rory Green and I have been working on for about a year.

When we get together and talk – about fundraising, about the state of our profession – there were times we agreed that there is something paradoxical about working at a non-profit organization.

Our causes seek to be change agents, yet we deal with archaic systems, power dynamics and bureaucracy.

Our causes fight for human dignity, yet we find ourselves degraded by peers or leaders.

Our causes support women, yet we often do little to support one another as female fundraisers.

Our causes advocate for a better world, yet we experience abuse and harassment in our workplaces.

We uncovered these truths over cups of tea and glasses of wine. We discussed quietly, looking to the root of the paradox. We questioned, we challenged each other. We wanted to go deeper into these issues.

We wanted to be agents of change in our organizations – and to empower others to be the same.

We needed to speak truth to power.

We sought to question, to cage rattle. To change, resist, surprise, challenge, heal. To disrupt. Together as women.

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