I work hard. No doubt about it. But I also like to unwind hard and have fun. No doubt about that either.
Looking back on my 20+ years as a fundraiser, I can honestly say that I have met some of my closest friends either as colleagues, donors or industry insiders.
I recently came back from a trip to the United Kingdom and met up with a former colleague who had retired to Scotland. We picked up right where we left off prior to her departure — chatting about donors, projects and the world!
I contend that if you are not having fun at your job, find a new job! Life is too short to be miserable for 40+ hours a week. So, how do I have fun as a fundraiser? Great question — glad you asked.
I celebrate successes. Not just me, but the entire team. When we have a successful event, it is usually a team effort and together we celebrate together. When it is someone’s work anniversary, I make a point of taking that person out for lunch to celebrate, thank them for their past commitment and look together towards the future.
Every Friday afternoon is special at my office — it is a weekly ritual that every team that I have worked with has come to appreciate. It is a time to unwind, laugh and blow off some steam. It ends the week on a high note, regardless of what may have transpired.
As well, as my colleagues have come to learn, a little practical joking goes a long way to make the office fun. When one of our colleagues goes on extended vacation (2 weeks or more), the rest of the team redecorates their office. Some examples are below.
There is always a reason to laugh. I try to inject some levity into everything that I do. It makes for a great workplace.
I have also got into the fun world of betting with volunteers. This started with a close friend of mine who was chairing an Annual Campaign over a decade ago — we would bet a bottle of single malt scotch that their canvass with Mrs. X would (or wouldn’t be) successful. Usually, Mrs. X represented a long-time lapsed donor. The rules also stipulated that if each of us “won” a bottle from the other, we could not simply cancel the bottles out. Rather, each of us had to pay up. I think our record was 16 bottles exchanged during a single campaign.
It is great to have FUN while FUNdraising — it makes the whole process that much more enjoyable.