Yes, I am a Fundraiser
No, we are not miracle workers. Neither are we magicians or politicians pulling tricks on people just to get what we want.
Yet sometimes miracles happen, and magic seems to appear out of nowhere. It’s just a part of our profession.
So let me confess – I am proud to be a fundraiser.
Every time I make the ask and look in the eyes of my counterpart, I feel proud that I represent a non-profit whose mission I truly believe in. I am proud that I am here to ask for the funds that will help launch a new program that will transform someone’s life.
Every donor’s “yes” or “no” makes such a difference in people’s lives. And I am there to hear it first. It’s like being present at the birth of your child. It’s like writing the final word in your poem. It’s like finding the perfect melody for your lyrics. It’s amazing.
And yes, you hear “no” plenty of times, for sure, but you also hear that powerful “yes!” enough, that it makes it all worthwhile, because you know what this “yes!” means for your organization and for the people who need it so desperately.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m an adrenalin junkie, so there’s something in this for me too. When I get a positive response, sometimes I want to jump and hug my counterpart (and sometimes that’s the only logical thing to do). Sometimes I max out the music in the car speeding back home, unable to hold my excitement. Or I am stunned, overwhelmed with emotion, because the person who just gave me a check was generous far beyond what I’d expected. It is a beautiful and humbling feeling.
Yet the power of this yes is multiplied when you bring it back to your office. It doubles and triples with every smile, every cheering voice, and every new program you launch. You see this yes reflected in a high school student from DC going to Japan for the first time. You notice it in confidence of a journalist from Mongolia who just mastered a new media course. Or you see it in the eyes of local volunteers who just saw their dream of building a first hostel in Richmond coming true.
I strongly believe that each yes we receive brings the good back into the world. And our world so desperately needs that positive light, if only for a brief moment. It goes from the heart of a donor and materializes into a new and better reality that every one of us benefits from. It truly makes our world a better place.
How is this not a miracle?
Hank Rosso said that “fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.”
This joy of giving is real. It transforms the giver into a happier person. And it also transforms you, the fundraiser, because you suddenly witness a long-lost ideal of our humanity, selfless love, in the form of a real person, standing in front of you. And it is such powerful and humbling experience.
How is this not magic?
My fellow fundraisers, I take my hat off to you all for your incessant efforts to make this world a better place, for your resilience and optimism, for your true belief in the beauty of mankind. Because you know that everyone you meet along the way also deserves to feel this moment of truth.
Yes, I am a fundraiser.