Is Fundraising a Lonely Business?

It’s a lonely time out there with lots of my fundraising colleagues.  Especially with this being just about the toughest fundraising environment any of us have ever seen.

Being a staff fundraiser has always been a lonely business.(And consulting can be pretty lonely too!)  This is the time we need to rally our colleagues, our board members our CEO and have give them all a dose of old-fashioned optimism.

iStock_000005667780XSmallHere you are, bravely working for your cause with passion in your heart, trying to create new friends and donors for your wonderful cause.

And you have to deal with recalcitrant board members who just can’t find the courage to do what you do everyday. And you may have a CEO who also is unsure about fundraising and who won’t “do right” as we say in the south.

You may have unsupportive colleagues who are jealous that you get to go to all the events and travel around to see donors.  If you’re part of a large development operation with lots of other fundraisers, they may be competitive and view you as a potential threat.

Mix all this in with a major recession, donor reluctance, and a sinking stock market, and it sure is hard to keep morale up sometimes!

My friends are sort of relieved when I say that fundraising is a lonely business.  It acknowledges something we all know.

And it takes courage in our heart, perseverance in the face of adversity, tremendous commitment and just plain dogged determination to keep on keeping on.

What cheers me so very much is that so many of my fundraising friends are upbeat, optimistic and full of energy. They are looking at declining revenues with a sense of “things will get better.”  I almost never see a friend moaning and groaning, or wallowing around in negativism.

Here’s a friend’s perspective:  “I have something so great and I believe in it so much and I want to make it  happen!  I’ll do whatever it takes! But I can’t do it by myself.  I really need some help.”

Maybe fundraising attracts a certain personality. Maybe we are inherently cheerful and hoping for the best. I really think that’s the case.

So let’s all head on out there, in the face of a tough environment, unsupportive board members and colleagues and let’s make it work ANYWAY! Gather your forces, cheer up your board members and CEO’s, rally your colleagues around you to make it happen!

Too much is at stake for us to sit around feeling negative or bad.

The world out there is waiting for us, and there are surely lots of donors and friends for our cause in the future!