August 2023 marked a major milestone for me: 20 years in the fundraising profession!
In the summer of 2003, I had just finished my master’s degree and was ready to make my way in the big wide world. I’d been volunteering for Pro-Choice Minnesota at the time, and while I thought public policy advocacy was my future, I applied for the job they had available: development coordinator.
In that first year, I learned a lot about fundraising and a lot about myself. The biggest, most life-altering lesson was that despite my master’s degree in public policy, I much preferred fundraising to lobbying and political organizing work. CliftonStrengths would later tell me this had much to do with my Analytical strength. I liked that my fundraising work was measurable. I knew how I was doing, I could predict results, and I knew what areas of my plan needed work.
Much has changed in 20 years, and much has stayed the same. There is unrest in the field, with fundraisers questioning traditional ways and aligning with new frameworks. Change is good. But what remains the same is this: relationships are key. No matter how I raise funds, having authentic, empathetic, and grateful relationships with donors, recipients, and colleagues will always be my guiding principle.
I give thanks to all those who have taught me, mentored me, and challenged me on this journey, and I look forward to many more years of the profession I love!