An Ode to Fundraisers: The Work Isn’t Fun – It’s Important

Published on May 15, 2020

Brian Saber

President of Asking Matters
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Fundraising might start with “Fun,” but talk about a red herring. It can be very anxiety-provoking… especially individual face-to-face fundraising where the biggest and best gifts are to be found. It’s not what most of us would do if we could just do what we enjoy most – whether we’re professionals or volunteers. That’s the truth, and that’s fine.

It’s important to say this now, in this moment, because we need everyone to fundraise more than ever to ensure our dear, critically-important nonprofit world survives the pandemic. It’s our all-hands-on-deck moment, so let’s be sure to value fundraisers and understand where we’re coming from.

We fundraise because we care. Because we want to make a difference in the world, and we know we can help by doing so. We often fall into it, or we’re in it before we know what happened.

Very few fundraising staff start out saying, “I want to be a fundraiser.” We start out thinking we want to make an impact. We don’t want to choose a profession just to make money – for ourselves or someone else. We want to do something more meaningful.

Most volunteers say some form of, “can you keep me away from the fundraising? I’ll do anything else!“ A sense of responsibility usually brings them around, but mostly they do it under great duress.

We ALL do it for the same reason though — because we care:

We care about education but weren’t trained to teach or don’t feel a calling to do so.

We love the performing arts but can’t sing or act or don’t want to do it professionally.

We want to find a cure for a disease impacting our loved ones but we’re not researchers.

We believe we need to fight climate change to save the world for our children, but we’re not scientists.

We have faith but know others are better at spreading the word.

It is a calling. It is a sense of shared responsibility. It is an inner drive.

My deepest thanks to all the staff and volunteers who fundraise. No, it is generally not fun. Yes, it can be difficult and anxiety-provoking. But we do it. We are an incredible band of warriors who together make the world a better place.


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