The Joy of Fundraising



I love this opinion piece from Sunday’s New York Times: Why Fund-Raising Is Fun. When I tell people I do nonprofit fundraising for a living, I usually get a reaction that is a mix of awe and respect. I’m told “that must be hard” and “I hate asking for money.”

Fundraising is not just “asking for money.” It’s not a one way street, not solely a “gimme” or “begging” job. There are a long list of benefits for donors, including everything from the benefits of acting altruistically, to tax benefits, to making new contacts. The most important benefit, the one that makes the biggest difference, the one that moves people to act, is that:

Through donating to a nonprofit, you are changing the world. Fundraisers make that happen.

Donating is your way to be part of something bigger than yourself. It’s your chance to make a difference in the world for people who need help. It’s how you can make an impact on nonprofit organizations that are doing important work.

So, fundraisers actually have a very fun job: we get to make things like this happen. We get to connect people to causes they believe in, and we get to ensure that people make a mark on the world. I love being a fundraiser, and I have no problem “asking for money.” In fact, instead of asking for a favor, I am demonstrating an opportunity for people to make a difference. I am grateful every day that I get to do so.




31 Day Reset: Day 5 – Walking the Talk

I’m participating in the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program at Happy Black Woman. The program is designed to help you evaluate your goals and priorities and think of them in the context of your life today and how you might be able to refocus on what’s important. Read on to learn about my experience with the challenge!

Yesterday I determined my top ten values, today is the beginning of envisioning these values in action. I started out by rating each value on a scale of 1-10 of how I’m acting them out today. I actually feel I’m living all of them (except having a family of course) more than a 5, so that’s good.

But Part 2 was more enlightening for me, because that’s where I went into depth about what it means to see these values in action. I wrote three actions I currently take or could be taking for each value. Here’s a few of the a-ha moments I had.

Leaving a legacy / Making a difference: While I rated myself as lower on leaving a legacy and higher on making a difference, when I was challenged to think of actions that fit with each area, I actually wrote the same three thoughts!

  1. Impacting others through my actions and attitude
  2. Paying it forward at every opportunity
  3. Creating big, lasting change

It’s made me realize that I define leaving a legacy and making a difference in the same way. It’s important to me to make a difference to others around me, and through that difference I make, I impact the way others act, which will maintain its ripple effect. I strongly believe in the power of one.

Being a role model: The idea of being a role model sounds wonderful but where do you begin to describe it? Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Always showing compassion and generosity
  2. Living my values with balance
  3. Showing strong conviction

Being an introvert, showing strong conviction is not normally something I consciously strive for. However, in thinking of it in context of being a role model, it makes a lot of sense. A role model is someone who doesn’t just have beliefs, she acts on behalf of them. That’s something I strive to do more in my life.

Connecting with others: My first thoughts in this regard is of course strengthening the already strong relationships with those I love. But I was surprised that my mind also led me in the direction of new connections.

  1. Spending time with friends who challenge me to talk deeply and consider what I’m saying
  2. Open myself to new people and perspectives
  3. Put myself in new situations where I learn from others

Truly opening myself up to others is something I hope to improve on. Because I want to experience as many different types of people and personalities I can; it will only strengthen my knowledge and confidence!

This was a great exercise. It made me realize which of those top ten really are the ones I’m passionate about and which ones I’d like to delve further into. Who knew that I subconsciously was hoping I would show strong conviction?


31 Day Reset: Day 4 – My Top Ten Values

I’m participating in the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program at Happy Black Woman. The program is designed to help you evaluate your goals and priorities and think of them in the context of your life today and how you might be able to refocus on what’s important. Read on to learn about my experience with the challenge!

I had a leg up on Day 4’s exercise, because I’ve actually done something similar before. We were asked to take some time to write down everything we value, anything that we care about – at least more than 12. Then, we needed to designate from that list the ten we felt were at the top.

In the previous exercise I did, I had narrowed it down to five. I did the original exercise with Deirdre Maloney; you can read about her company Momentum San Diego here. And not surprisingly, those five were on my list again (I didn’t do the exercise that long ago). But I found my additional five to be very interesting. I had to very, very selective to do the first five – but now I had the opportunity to list other parts of my life that were important.

My original five: Being generous, leadership, leaving a legacy, love, making a difference

The five I added tonight: Being a role model, connecting with others, having a family, integrity, succeeding in my career

I think being a role model and connecting with others are the two that jump out to me most. Being a role model perhaps is my elaboration of leadership, leaving a legacy, and making a difference all at the same time. It’s important to me to always conduct myself in a way that others respect and love. I also value making connections – this is why my friendships and relationships with my family are so important to me – because connecting with others is an important part of my life.

I encourage you to do this exercise, too! Doing the original five was so eye opening to me, and allowed me to understand the underlying motivation for everything I do.


Thoughts on the Future

As always, I’ve been tossing around ideas about my future lately. I have my five most important values posted on my wall so that I’m reminded of them every day. One of them is making a difference. But what I haven’t really asked myself is…

What does it mean to make a difference?

I’ve always thought of making a difference in the traditional way. Take a visible leadership role and make change in your community. Participate in advocacy, educate your peers, and take an active role in changing the world. Pick up litter. Smile at a stranger. Recycle. You know, that sort of thing.

But last night I thought… what if I’m thinking too small? What if I’m being too close minded about what making a difference can mean? I’ve shared on here that I’m open to being a nonprofit consultant in the future (see my post Updating My About Me Page). But lately I think I might have shifted that thinking from being a possibility to being a strong possibility. Even stronger than becoming a CEO.

My time in the Master of Nonprofit Administration program at USF will be so useful in a consultant capacity. I’ll be able to use my skills and knowledge with a large breadth of organizations. The work will be varied and interesting. And, the responsibility will be different.

I have to admit, I have a hard time shouldering a large amount of responsibility. I get very wrapped up in doing everyone proud that I drive myself a little nuts (see my post I Am an Overachiever). Being a consultant would be a different type of responsibility. I can be a partner with a CEO to assist them with implementation, but not be the sole person creating change. I can be in the supporting role, much like I loved being an advisor to student organizations at UCSD (namely, Alternative Breaks). It’s a different type of responsibility, and one that very much attracts me.

As always, things change. But the important thing is that I’m continually thinking about what will make me happy and what works best for my future. And I think this just might be the ticket.