Our family, often, is the non-paid support staff for your fundraising department. They give us feedback, listen to us and support us. The life of a fundraiser isn’t easy. Yes, it is a very rewarding profession, but often there are stresses that are put upon the professional (intended and unintended).
Fundraising is a serious business. We are, after all, possibly saving lives. For example, you may work with a national charity trying to eradicate a disease. Or, you may work for women’s shelter. The stress of not being able to fulfill your mandate because of insufficient funds raised is a huge albatross around a fundraiser’s neck. Some take it quite personally. Others don’t.
I once had a campaign chair tell me I couldn’t control how much a campaign raised. All I could do was try my very best. While there is some truth to that, it still didn’t help assuage my guilt when the campaign didn’t perform as well as we thought it should.
I have also found that sometimes success comes with unintended stresses. If you exceed your financial target for the year, I can almost certainly guarantee you that the target for the following year will increase. Maybe the reason for this is that fundraising is difficult to understand for the uninitiated, so adding an arbitrary 10% to the goal doesn’t seem unreasonable. At some point, the campaign will peak and missing the target is a really crummy feeling.
The Family Support
So, what is a fundraiser to do? Often, we need an accepting ear to bounce ideas off of, or just plain vent. That is where the family comes in to the picture. I have been fortunate to have an amazing wife who has been my “cheerleader” for almost three decades. As a non-fundraiser herself, she comes at the trials and tribulations of the profession with an objective eye. I think I am spoiled by having such a support, as there are others in the profession who aren’t as fortunate to have such a great support network.
But your family is so very important in fundraising. They understand the long and unconventional hours that are spent on the job. Family understands you may need to make small talk with a donor couple you see at the restaurant on date night. They also understand that they are integral to your success — an unsupportive family will soon have a fundraiser questioning their line of work.
So, to conclude, I want to thank my wife and kids (if I haven’t done enough of it properly yet). While I may be the one that is hired as the fundraising professional, it is now a group activity and I thank you for your continued participation and support.
Until next week.