A couple of years ago I was at the Fundraising and Philanthropy Forum and I heard John Jeffries of CBM give a presentation on the state of the fundraising profession. During this talk, he said something like:
No one leaves school and says, ‘yes, I’m going to have a career as a fundraiser!’
It would seem that being a fundraiser is not a sexy profession. At times the way people talk about fundraisers, I’m wondering whether the phrase should be ‘never discuss sex, religion, politics or fundraising.’
Recently personal experiences have shown me that far needing to whisper ‘I’m a fundraiser’, people should be shouting it from the roof-tops with pride.
I’ve always known that fundraising changes lives. There have been times when I’ve seen it’s impact. Yet it’s only recently that I’ve really understood what ‘life-changing fundraising’ really is.
It took for a person dear to me to be in dire need of vehicle modifications in order to maintain his independence for me to really see how powerful fundraising can be.
Less than 2 months ago, I was sitting have a conversation with Andrew about his increasing difficulty lifting his wheelchair into his car. His struggle to get in and out of the car was getting too much. ‘I’ll just have to quit TAFE’ he said. ‘And organise some other way to get my groceries.’
With a price tag of anything from $8,500 up to $20,000, depending on the option he chose, it did seem hopeless.
I went away and thought about it. I wasn’t ready to give up. I came back and said, ‘you’re right, we mightn’t be able to raise the money, but I know I’ll always regret it if we didn’t try.’
Little did I know that within 2 months, we would have already raised close to $3,000. We may only be a third of the way there – and what an emotional rollercoaster it has been – yet hope has returned.
When your profession changes people’s lives like this, then there’s plenty of reasons to be proud.