My motivation for becoming a fundraiser 15 years-ish ago was pretty simple: I didn’t know what to do next.
I had been working as political staff in a government that was defeated in an election, I was staying home with my then one year-old daughter for a year and I had tried my hand at everything I wanted to do up to that point.
My partner and a couple of other people suggested fundraising or sales because they thought I dealt with people pretty well. In a couple of local campaigns I did have some fun doing a bit of fundraising and I knew I could never find something I believed in enough to sell. Well, maybe I could sell solar energy solutions, but it was the mid-90’s and no one was talking about alternative energy like they were in the 70’s or like these days.
After my daughter turned 2, and with some classes in non-profit management under my belt, I earned my first fulltime job as a fundraiser working for a shelter for abused women and their children. As it happened, they had never had a fundraiser before, so we all learned a great deal.
Along the way, I’ve worked with some health-related (or disease-related, if you will) agencies, a couple of social service agencies, a United Way and a museum. Most of the last 15 years working in the fundraising field has been connected to HIV/AIDS.
Just over 3 years ago, I made the move to consult, because almost every fundraiser wants to grow up to be a fundraising consultant at some point.
A few weeks ago, though, I went back to fulltime work as a fundraiser. I am also a fulltime commuter again.
The work of the organization is tough. It is a disease with no cure and effectively no treatments. If there is one thing I have learned about myself as a fundraiser it is that there is no sense doing easy work. My father would often drill into that there was a job to do and someone had to do it.
I’m back on the road again with a fulltime commute and a fulltime commitment to do some hard work.