A Thankful Fundraiser’s Perspective

I am fully bloated and cannot look at another morsel of food (from yesterday’s festivities). But here I am sitting in front of my computer realizing just how lucky a guy I am. There is so much to be thankful for — and not just the Thanksgiving meal my wife put on yesterday. Perhaps my take on it isn’t unique, but it is truly heartfelt.

I am so very thankful for my wife and boys who put up with all of the craziness that is involved in being a fundraiser’s family. From the erratic hours to missed dinners to the late-night phone calls, the family has been there in a very supportive role. Add to that the fact that, as a family, we tend to support most every special event that comes our way through work and I realize that thanks just doesn’t cut it.

Thanks for Giving Meaning

I am thankful for being in a profession that (if done properly) changes peoples’ lives each and every day. What meaning! Whether it is being involved in funding groundbreaking research on stem cells, helping people across the globe find a new life away from a famine-infested area, or whether it is providing shelter to young adults that have nowhere else to live or helping people on the ground immediately following an earthquake — I feel like I am part of the ‘machine’ that is making a real difference in people’s lives. Each and every day. What an honor!

I am thankful for working alongside great people. I take hiring very seriously and methodically. As a result, there is a team that has existed (in this iteration) for almost 5 years 100% intact (save for maternity leave). Each member of the team brings a unique talent that I have come to rely on each and every day. Whether it is writing, database management, or event logistics I know that the team around me is a great sounding board and together we can (and have) make great things happen. If you want to reread what I wrote about hiring for attitude over aptitude it is here.

Thankful for Others

I am truly grateful for the donors that I interact with on a daily basis. From the donor who sponsors someone to participate in an event, to a donor who gives millions of dollars to help transform an organization to the donor that just wants to have coffee and hear what’s up. I enjoy getting to know the donors. It is these meaningful relationships that have allowed me to create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect with a large donor base. Thank you for allowing me into your inner circle — and helping you to realize some of your philanthropic dreams. I wrote about this special bond here.

I am thankful for the hundreds (if not thousands) of volunteers I have come across in my career. You folks are the backbone of a successful charity. You don’t get paid to be passionate advocates, you are passionate advocates. Often times we, as staff, forget that you have real jobs and that your involvement with us is in your spare time. Thank you for prioritizing our charity, putting in all of those hours, enduring all of those meetings and being such great spokespeople.

Thanks to all the Unsung Heroes

I am thankful for the program delivery folks at the organizations I have been involved with. Often times, these are the unsung heroes, working ridiculous hours (often in less-than-ideal conditions) with little praise. I am in complete awe of these folks. What they do is something that I, personally, could never be able to do. It takes such special people to deliver frontline services. Thank you!

I am thankful that I live in a part of the world that allows for such freedoms and privileges as the ones we enjoy on a daily basis. Whether it is freedom of expression, freedom of religion or even freedom of association, it has served me well to realize just how lucky I am to be able to exercise these freedoms. In my current role, I have had the opportunity to come across many refugees who are just so thankful for what they have here (and it isn’t much) that it makes me realize just how lucky we are. I remember a trip I was on to Ethiopia where families were living in huts made with dung walls with no plumbing or electricity. At that time, I was having issues getting a replacement microwave back at home that fit into the ‘nook’. Kinda puts things into perspective, huh?

Thankful for YOU!

Lastly, I am thankful for you, the readers of my blog. Sometimes (though not often), I feel like I am on an island by myself in the middle of the ocean. Connecting with people from around the world talking passionately about the vocation I love always brings me back to reality. There is a larger community out there. I have made some really amazing connections over the last 18 months or so (since I started this blog). I have connected with hundreds of really amazing people and sparked some thought-provoking discussions. Thank you.

So, in conclusion, there is so very much to be thankful for.

Thank you!