I like bacon with my bacon, please.

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 | 0 comments

What was it Benjamin Franklin said? Oh yeah, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.”

I would like to echo that sentiment. Life keeps marching on, but to its own drummer. I may have a certain cadence in my mind, but somehow “life” always overpowers with a heavy drum beat that isn’t at all what I had in mind.

Peaceful tranquility? What’s that? Blissful retirement? Not on your life. Gentle breezes flowing through flowing golden locks…are you kidding me? First of all, I’m a redhead, so from the get go, my vision of how life should be was never going to happen.

Life, and my vision of life, keeps changing. And I’ve been known to remind people that change is good. But the reality is, change is…well, change is change. There’s just no getting around it.

And in fundraising, change is constant when it comes to methods, practices, and creativity, but when it comes to mission, it will remain the same. Fundraisers are taxed with the job of bringing in the bacon – so to speak – and that isn’t going to change.

Recently I had the opportunity to take some time to reflect on my mission, not only the mission of my consulting company, but my own personal mission. I realized that my goal was to change lives, and that I am at my very best when working with people directly.  As I pondered these thoughts, I realized that my current role with several of my amazing clients and past employers didn’t provide opportunities for me to accomplish either my personal or my corporate goals, and a new ah ha! moment was birthed: I haven’t been doing what I’m really good at.

With several past employers and clients, I was hired to meet with donors, but it never happened. I was hired to help with re-organization, but it never happened. I was hired because of my public speaking skills, but it never happened.

We get so caught up in the day-to-day policies, processes, and procedures, that we sometimes lose sight of our original goals and plans. In my case,  I was hired because I am the very best when working with people; not behind a computer, not word-smithing, not managing a database, not strategizing fundraising goals – although all of these things are critical to a successful fundraisers efforts and I can manage each one effectively.  So, yes, I am adept at all of these things, but I am best, I help an organization the most, I have the most success, I am the most effective, when I am working directly with people – one on one, or in large groups, or small groups. Me and them. Eye to eye. Knee to knee if need be.

This recent ah-ha! moment has caused me to reevaluate and instigate personal and professional change in my life.  My focus will continue to be with nonprofit organizations. And my expertise has not changed, but my focus has narrowed. I know what I’m good at, and I plan to work with folks to want to take advantage of that. because that is how I will be able to help them the most.

Thankfully, the nonprofit fundraising gods were listening during my ah ha! moment, and they are helping out. Since that memorable ah ha! day:

  • I have been invited to speak on moves management at a 2013 national conference in Florida. This is one of my strengths, I am one of those strange humans that loves public speaking. And moves management is a fundraising passion of mine.
  • I have recently had two personal visits with two potential donors to two different organizations, and successfully brought home the bacon (so to speak). Lots of bacon.  More bacon than I expected. Bacon, as in, I like bacon with my bacon (most fundraisers do).
  • I have the ability to read an organization’s culture after spending only a few days in their midst, and I can fairly quickly identify its strengths and weaknesses. This allows me to provide support to the organization by suggesting problem-solving practices that will help the organization become more effective, more synergistic, and more successful. I’m working with an organization in California right now on this very thing.
Obviously, I’m thrilled about all of this change in my life. It’s exhilarating to feel like you’re making a difference. The exact opposite of feeling that you’re not contributing. I thrive on success, and action, and positive movement, don’t most of us?

Change is hard…even this recent personal change didn’t come without some pain. But my mission hasn’t changed, I am simply using my talents and experience where they will be most effective in completing my mission, which is to support nonprofit organizations effectively. And I’m doing what I’m good at, using my talents to further a worthy cause by helping  to raise the needing funding for life-changing programs.

Maybe it’s true that death and taxes are the only things we can always count on, and maybe it’s true that life’s drumroll sometimes drowns out our chosen beat, but I still believe we can create our own destiny. It’s all about setting priorities, setting boundaries, and setting goals.

If you’re struggling, I suggest a time-out for your own ah-ha! moment. There’s room for a variety of talents in the nonprofit fundraising world. Are yours being used effectively?

Maybe the nonprofit gods will smile down on you too!

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