Most people enter the fundraising field because it is an environment that serves human needs–needs that are not served by the other sectors, business and government. People want to heal, to educate, to preserve cultures, to shelter the abused, to inspire, or to preserve. But in order to succeed in fundraising as a career, you have to believe in the mission of the organization you serve.
Other objectives can certainly be worthwhile, such as career advancement, involvement in a specific field of interest, working in a field that has such significant impact on nonprofit causes, but belief in the causes that a fundraising professional serves is of primary importance. Fundraising should touch souls, the professional’s as well as those who are served.
It’s true there are hours spent in painstaking research, preparation that goes into every “ask” from proposal writing to one-on-one solicitation, the planning for each successful event, the writing of materials such as letters, the cultivation steps so vital for each market, the juggling of constituents’ wants and demands, the complexities of managing volunteers and working with the board. The list could go and can be mind-numbing.
But at the end of each day, the professional has engaged in a journey worth sharing because, whether or not the results of that day’s efforts are visible, the professional can take pride in the nature of the work. Fundraising or development, as some prefer to call it, is a fundamental part of the process that makes institutions successful. The genuinely committed professional feels a “calling” to the work of fundraising. The satisfaction is derived from results, often intangible as well as those that aren’t visible for some time in the future, not from recognition.