Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU, the long term fundraiser

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm

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Dawn has written about it before: the average time a fundraiser spends at a job is less than two years. That’s barely enough time to plan and execute a campaign. That means you just get to start to know your volunteers and committees – before your mind is somewhere else (i.e. the Want Ads, or on the phone with a head-hunter).

It’s sad. It’s not helpful to an organization nor to YOU the fundraiser (Disclaimer: I am sure that many of the fundraisers in the study had reasons they just couldn’t stay past two years in their jobs).

For me, as of August 27, 2013, I have worked in the Fund Development Department at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia for six years. Yes, three times as long as many in our field. With no previous experience in Fund Development, the learning curve was steep. Sure I could plan an event, but could I plan an event that raised money? And writing? My forte! But writing for fundraising? Eep.

If YOU are a new fundraiser who is weary; who may be relocating; or has read the report before and may be thinking, “Well, it’s almost two years, what’s wrong with me….I should go”. Here are some of my musings as a “seasoned” vet:

  1. I am not a seasoned vet. Sure, I’ve worked here and progressively made my way up the department ranks, but I still have a lot to learn. Never think you know it all.
  2. Meet your stakeholders. In my first two years here, I truly never had a long conversation with a person or family who used our services. Work was too busy, I couldn’t find time, etc. BIG MISTAKE. I recommend YOU meet your donors and the people who use your organizations services as soon as possible after you are hired. Their words, their stories have invigorated me, making ma a better and creative fundraiser. Meet the people YOU raise money for and with.
  3. Give it time. As the famous saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes awhile in any new job to learn the roles and responsibilities of colleagues; to figure out office culture; to understand the database YOU have to use. Grow into the fundraiser YOU want to be.

These three things have helped me enjoy my job immensely. I hope it helps YOU too. Because the world needs more fundraisers with passion for their job.

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