Category Archives: Professional Development

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: How Everything Decision Affects Fundraising

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Every aspect of what nonprofits do and how they do it trickles down to donor relations and fund development. Of course, some things have a more direct and immediate impact than others. This might not matter so much to you except that higher-ups routinely evaluate and grade the performance of individual fundraisers and fundraising departments. Occasionally, one of those higher-ups is not inclined to connect the dots—the mutually dependent relationships between organizational performance and fundraising performance—which creates an awkward situation for fundraisers. Below are a few examples. Continue reading

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CAREER STRUGGLES: Pursuing Success but Getting Lost in the Process

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I’ve had the privilege over the years of working with thousands of nonprofit fundraisers. These are great people doing great work, and they’re making the world a much better place. I can’t help but notice, though, many are struggling. I’m particularly sympathetic to frustrations and discouragements I hear from young fundraisers working somewhere down on the organizational chart. I was in that very same position many years ago. I finally had to draw a circle around myself and just focus on things that I could control within that circle. If you’re a struggling fundraiser (young or old), I hope my story helps.
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NOBLE OCCUPATION: A Little Bit of Don Quixote in All the Best Fundraisers

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Don Quixote perceived himself as a man on a mission, a knightly quest to become the champion and defender of all who were in need. Like the fictional hero of the Spanish novel, the most effective nonprofit leaders I’ve known are those who have been able to maintain a kind of romanticized ideal about their occupation. But that’s not always easy to do. Contending with unrelenting needs as well as the occasional setback can wear down your idealism and enthusiasm over time. Continue reading

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