I had a wonderful conversation over breakfast last week with a nonprofit fundraising colleague – over eggs and coffee (iced tea for me), we shared experiences, thoughts on the future of our profession, and general excitement about new opportunities to come. It served as a shot of adrenaline for the day, and I don’t think it was just the three hours of caffeine, either. Invigorating discussion was just what I needed before I ran to client meetings across town. It was therapy – and cheap therapy at that.
Sometimes, we just need to share our experiences. As an independent consultant, I crave time with my fellow colleagues since most of my days are spent on the road and in client meetings. I love my clients and my work, but I still need time with my people. Whether you have a team in your office or not, I find that we all need time to share, question, and ponder. Especially for us extroverted “people persons” (Is that even a word?? If not, I just made it one.), time together is essential to our growth and happiness as professionals.
So, why a blog? Why start a blog when there are dozens (literally: http://thefundraisingdigest.com/best-fundraising-blogs/) of fantastic blogs from leading resources, researchers and organizations about nonprofit philanthropy?
Well, why is a great question, and one I like to raise to my clients when the status quo has become a well-worn road. Many times, we need to stop doing the usual and just ask why? And since I am often THAT person in the room raising their hand to say, “That sounds great, but why?”, I thought, Why start a blog anyway?
I have thought about a blog for some time, since being a recovering English major and writing nerd is a heavy yoke to bear, at some point, you just have to find an outlet. The adage of write what you know has always stuck with me, and while I know a lot about online shopping, chocolate chip cookies (if you need a top 10 cookie list for Houston, let me know), and celebrity gossip, I thought I should focus on something more useful. With 18 years or so in the nonprofit world, I have certainly acquired some experiences and thoughts, and even after all these years, I have never been more passionate or engaged in our field. I LOVE nonprofit philanthropy and fundraising, and have found great fulfillment as a consultant – I wear that nerd badge proudly. But again, why a blog?
Since there are so many wonderful experts and organizations sharing insightful information on best practices and the latest research, I can tell you this blog will NOT be a source for how to write the best appeal, reveal major gift portfolio management secrets, or how to mind meld with your board members. There are others who can share that information much more sagely than me (see list above).
So, why a blog? Here are just a few things I hope to achieve with this new venture:
– I want to provide an outlet for sharing some of the stories, thoughts, and questions that many of us wrestle with regularly in nonprofit philanthropy. Think of it as virtual therapy – and it’s free!
– I hope to pull away from some of the noise in our world, reveal a more personal view of nonprofit philanthropy, and focus on some of the deeper issues we face. But don’t worry, we will have plenty of fun and laughs, because as you know, you must have a sense of humor to persevere in this profession. (Just wait until we get to the “other duties as assigned” stories.)
– I do not profess to be an expert and never will do so – rather, I hope to start conversations and share issues that I see in my own work or from other colleagues.
– I want this blog to be a moment of refuge in your day, a coffee/chocolate break from your in-box and phone calls. We are not always the best at stopping to take care of ourselves or think beyond our daily task list, and hopefully this blog will be a respite from the noise and clutter around us.
As I pondered the idea of a blog, I kept returning to the word, “Why”. Why fundraising? Why are so many nonprofits an internal mess of well-meaning people? Why should we stay fresh on the latest and greatest? If this work is so wonderful, why is the nonprofit world a revolving door? Why should we stay in the nonprofit profession? Why is fundraising often treated like a dirty word? Why can’t we get beyond the general operating vs. restricted dilemma in our organizations?
So, since my husband has kindly lent me a great last name, and rhyming is just too easy, the Wise on Whys blog is born. Every post will begin with a “Why” question, and while we will likely never find a definitive answer, perhaps this blog will serve as a launching pad for further thought and discussion. Or perhaps it will simply be a place to share a laugh, a wry smile of shared experience, but most importantly, remind us of why we love the work that we do.
It’s a crazy world out there, and we nonprofit fundraisers need to stick together. I hope you will join me for this blogging adventure – and even if it’s just five of us, I have a feeling we will have a grand time.
Until next time…