Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Friday, July 29, 2016

I made a mistake

I don't think mistakes are only made by fundraisers or those of us in non-profit development. Yet I do think that the more we make as fundraisers the stronger we become, the more knowledgeable we become, and the more successful our fundraising efforts are.

It's not easy when confronted with a mistake. Whether it's around your style of leadership, a fundraising campaign, a special event, an interaction with a staff member or board member. I guess this list could go on and on.

I definitely learn from my mistakes. That's the whole point. If I can't learn from them I am pretty much doomed. If I can't figure out what was going on or what happened, or even care to take the time to look at all of that, I'm doomed.

If I am afraid to take risks or try something new, success is not going to happen.

I have to constantly be open to learning, to the feedback of others, and to be taking those risks.

Fundraising/development is ever-changing in our world. The way we build relationships, or even how we think of donor and partner relationships, is different than it was just five years ago. Direct mail is changing and how we look at special events is changing. And then there are those things we don't know until we know, especially if you are new to your development team.

Learn from your mistakes. Take risks. Be donor-centered. Rock it with your team. Honor them. Remember that those doing the amazing, life-changing work for your agency cannot do it without your successes. They and those your agency serves are counting on you.

Have an awesome day!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Losing a donor

Let's face it, if you are a development and fundraising professional who is hugely passionate for the work your non-profit agency does, losing a donor can be heart breaking.

I remember getting an email from a donor who I had been trying to connect with. Being new, I had only met them once while they were in the office, and it was a great conversation.

I had no idea that while I planned meetings with them, trouble was brewing.

While none of my emails were being returned, a decision was being made to not donate again.

Not because of anything program wise or due to any lack of program work. When I finally heard from them, it was a simple email about a challenge in their perception on some things the agency was doing with staffing. I say perception because for the agency and those served, the changes were great. This donor perceived them to be negative. And because of this they would not donate again.

I of course looked in the mirror. After a lot of time going back and forth in my head, I realized I had done everything right in regards to my profession. There was nothing I could do.

The breaking up email was sent to me and our CEO. At least I was included. My response was thanking them for the honest feedback, and letting them know that the voiceless and invisible population we serve needs them, so to please connect with me if anything ever changed.

Being one of the most positive people I know, I feel they will come back one day. They haven't yet. I will check in once in a while with a personal note.

I allowed myself time to be disappointed and then I jumped right back into being as strong of a development person as I could be, focusing my eyes on the prize and constantly working to ensure the donors that sustain our work always feel in positive relationship with us, to the extent that I have control over that.

Thank you for reading.