I absolutely love what I do. Fundraising and donor relations isn't just a job for me, it is my chosen career and more than that my vocation (auto correct tried to make that vacation, irony). I think it is absolutely essential you love what you do for a living, not just collect a paycheck. If you're going to collect a paycheck, go to the for profit world, at least your paycheck will be bigger! That all being said, at times I find myself in my travels and at conferences thinking, boy do these folks take themselves a tad bit seriously. It's true our jobs come with risk and reward, anytime you deal with money, sensitive legal and ethical issues abound. But in all honesty, one of the great joys of my life is being able to say that if I send one too many thank you notes to someone, they don't die. It helps now that I've stopped mailing things to dead people.
I do take offense when someone says, "it's donor relations, not rocket science", and I quietly point out that while the concept is simple, the execution is not. Well, that and then I tell them I can do differential equations in my head and ask them to do one with me... I digress.
It sounds overly simplistic and quite contrite, but it's true. I don't have the stomach or nerves to be in the brain surgery business. I'm happy and passionate about supporting those folks though. What I want most for us is to enjoy ourselves in our work, especially during the stressful times like fiscal year end. I don't want you to think that I don't take my work seriously, I do, nothing causes me more pain than a crooked label, but at the same time do it with good humor.
For those of you who have heard me speak, you know I love a witty joke. Especially if it is ill timed and inappropriate! But in all truth, I make my audiences laugh because far too often I see them leave sessions looking like they ate something bad inside. I want them to leave mine feeling laughter and energy. Most people appreciate it, some don't... Like the attendee who once wrote that "I'm not here to be entertained, I'm here to be informed". Yup, I still remember it word for word. It hurt for a long time and now I use it as a powerful motivation to do both.
Why can't we do the same with our donors and our constituents? We can. Let's spend a little more time laughing and enjoying the work that we do. Not all of them are stiff and no fun...in fact most of them are a blast! They're human remember?
My former VP Dawn always fondly recalls her favorite stint at a job saying, "we worked like dogs all day and all night but boy did we have fun and laugh a lot". That's the kind of job I look for. And every now and then we need a break from the tension. So here's my gift to you, a few wonderful pieces of humor:
This video just came out from my fiends(autocorrect strikes again, although if you met Brent you might say appropriate) FRIENDS at EverTrue... A hilarious video enjoy...http://www.evertrue.com/blog/2013/06/12/reunioncrashers/#.Ucl8Im_D-ic
Here's a great short video about donor recognition, aptly in Hebrew and you don't need to understand Hebrew to get the joke.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Zm54fIzbk&feature=player_embedded
Here's a great tumblr feed on our wonderful career choice:
A great meme that explains exactly what it is I do all day, if you had a gun to my Dad's head and asked him, he would be done for, but his basic understanding is that I'm in the business of people with lots of money but I don't make any... Oh irony.