Put the gun down or the charity gets it
Apparently there is a view out there in the stratosphere that charities are out to make people feel bad. Take this article from Geek Ergo Sum, where militant employees of charities prey upon unaware shoppers demanding they choose which is the more worthwhile cause. Contrary to this popular belief, in my experience many charities are trying to make people feel good… even inspired. Yet the negative perception of fundraising is no stranger to me. Whenever someone asks what I do and I explain that I am a data monkey for a not for profit and I help both fundraising and clinical, they are inevitably more interested in the clinical side. In fact, sometimes it’s like I never said the word fundraising.
When I first started working in fundraising, I was uncomfortable saying ‘I am a fundraiser.’ In fact, for many years, I would preface any suggestion or recommendation I was about to give with ‘I’m not a fundraiser, but I think…’
Some time ago I went to a talk where a very seasoned fundraiser got up and spoke about the fact that no one (or no one he knew) grew up saying ‘I want to be a fundraiser.’ He urged the audience to find some pride in the profession – being a fundraiser should not be a source of shame. For me, I had yet to even identify myself as a fundraiser – after all, fundraisers were those people who actually went out and asked for donations; not a data monkey like myself. Yet as the years have gone by, I have realised that it takes many skills and talents to form a fundraising team and I can no longer hide and say ‘I’m not a fundraiser.’ I am most certainly one. I have also realised that I am fortunate.
The daily post this week asked bloggers to comment on the cause they would like to support (if they didn’t need to work). Nothing came to mind. Then I realised that’s because I don’t have to give up work to support a cause. I am one of a lucky few who don’t have to dream about it. I get to do it each and every day. And that’s pretty cool… I daresay even something of which I can be proud.