Why are you passionate about fundraising? What motivates you to succeed in your role?
At a young age, my father was diagnosed with Bi-polar Schizophrenia. Because of his mental illness, he could not maintain full-time employment to meet my family's financial obligations. To help make ends meet, my mother worked two jobs, working nights and weekends, to provide for our family of seven. Despite all my mother's efforts, my family often relied on others' charity to provide food, shelter, and necessities for our family. Growing up in an unstable family environment helped me know that I wanted a different life for myself and my future family. I decided early on that the best way I could change my future and others' future was by connecting individuals with the resources with non-profits who help those in need.
What is your story?
When you are passionate about fundraising, you look beyond the role and position's obstacles and create your own path. You see opportunities rather than challenges. There will always be setbacks in your career. The difference between whether you succeed or struggle in the future is how you react to failure. Individuals passionate about fundraising are willing to put forth the time, energy, intentional growth, and sacrifices necessary to succeed.
Understand your motivations:
Before you can be genuinely passionate about fundraising, you must take the time to understand what motivates you. This means asking soul searching questions and understanding your true feelings. For example, one reason fundraisers often give when asked about why they are passionate about fundraising is their desire to give back to the community. That is a great start. But let's dig deeper. Why is it important to give back to the community? What experiences have you had, which influenced your decision to make fundraising a career? How has your background, culture, race, religious preference, political views, and philosophy on life impacted your values?
Values are personal beliefs that govern the way you act or behave. Values are unique to everyone and may change over time, based on additional information or life-altering events. Values, based on personal beliefs, determine how you accomplish your work. What personal values align with a career in philanthropy, and how does fundraising align with your ideals?
Match your values with the position:
Once you have identified your values and what makes you passionate about fundraising, it is essential to align your values and organization whose mission and vision align with your beliefs. Being passionate about fundraising is the result of being self-motivated. Real motivation occurs when fundraising is not a job but a mission you are called to do. When your ideals match the organization's standards you work for, you are energized and excited to achieve more than you have in the past and more than you thought possible. Aligning yourself with the right organization not only increases your ability but has a direct impact on staff, volunteers, and donors. Being passionate about fundraising is contagious.
Building a shared vision:
One of the strengths of professional fundraisers is their ability to build and share a vision and invite others to join in their journey. Successful fundraisers understand the process of creating an idea is a team effort. It requires taking the time to understand stakeholders' values and vision and creating a joint vision that aligns with their needs and meets the organization's goals. A great way to start building shared values is to ask for advice from others. Consider asking your donor's this question:
Can you help me understand what motivates you to support our cause (or causes like ours)? We want to understand what is important to you to create a vision that aligns with your passions.
Creating a shared vision does not occur in a board room and does not come from your board or executive team. It appears as you engage others in meaningful conversations about shared visions and future joint opportunities. For others to be passionate about fundraising, they must feel and see how the opportunity aligns with their passions and interests.