What are some of the advantages of working in fundraising and in the nonprofit world? Below are a few of my ideas. Feel free to leave some of your own in a comment: Why are you in fundraising? What would be a few advantages that I missed?
You have a great opportunity to spend 8 hours a day working to make a difference in your community. This kind of work makes a difference to me in feeling like I am personally making an impact. One of the greatest benefits of this industry is that personal initiative makes a huge difference. If you want to make an impact or difference you can. Because personal initiative is so important there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit, even in many larger shops, that wants to do work in new and different ways.
As a fundraising professional you have the opportunity to meet really generous people that are using their resources and volunteer time to make a huge difference. It can be inspiring to see the level of influence that some of these people have and watch them use it to benefit your organization. It can also be really fun to meet influential and powerful people and get to work with them.
Fundraising is very relationship based and is a great environment to be involved in peoples lives. Because we talk to people about their money and issues that are important to them we have a great opportunity to potentially impact lives. I think this is the number one reason why I do what I do… it’s way more about people development than anything else.
Sometimes because of one situation or another your organization will not give you measurable statistics. Maybe you are working on a venture project that has not yet been created, maybe you’ve been told to raise money for something that is a good idea but has no staff support. Here are a few things I’ve done to survive in this measureless world.
Straight away I’ll make sure that I can measure my own fundraising success to help me in building a future case for measurable results. It is important that you keep trying to get these measurable results. Do not settle for doing a bad job at showing your organization and it’s projects are a success.
A great stepping stone I’ve used is to set-up equivalencies so you have example numbers of what a gift can purchase. This allows donors to trust in how you will be spending their money but can provide them with great tangible ways of understanding the difference their gift can make.
When facts and measurements are scarce, you have to make sure that you are selling the ideas or founding principles of your organization. You can do this through client stories of success or of opportunity. Even “generalized” client stories of what a life could be like can make a significant impact. Client stories are really great as they provide you a way to re-tell the success of your organization through someone else. People will often connect to a compelling story before a promising statistic or a measurable result.
What does your organization do? I think we should strive for measurable results but when those results are scares we need to do something. What do you do in your organization?