"We've loved it here, but we have to quit."
Last October, Nancy and I sat down in our boss's bright, huge corner office and quit our six-figure jobs in higher ed fundraising.
We laughed nervously.
We cried more.
But we did it. We quit.
As the year anniversary of our last day of "work" and our first day of entrepreneurship approaches (November 1st! There WILL be wine!), I can't help but reflect.
Why did I quit?
People thought I was crazy.
I'd been there for 10 years.
I was leading the largest team.
I had a big, bright corner office.
I had insurance.
I had a pension. A pension! Money for life that keeps growing the longer you stay!?!
I liked my job. I loved my team. But...
I wanted to do more.
To help more people help more people.
To help fundraisers across the country raise more money.
To help nonprofits everywhere make more change.
One year later, it's happening.
Fundraisers Monthly members are getting more visits, having better conversations and raising...
What does it take to be a fundraiser?
I know, I know. There have been hundreds of articles written on this (including this one from us) and hours of conference sessions devoted to it.
But this week's got me thinking differently.
You, my fellow fundraiser - you're crazy special.
I was terrified for the first 3 years of my career (4 if I'm being totally honest).
I fell into my very first fundraising job - believing if I could sell coffee to grumpy morning people, I could surely raise money. (Helpful career hint: it's not the same AT ALL!)
After two years sorting through paper files and "raising" a tiny bit of money as it fell into my lap, I talked my way into a bigger, better job in a bigger, better town.
I felt like a fraud.
Not only at my job, but with donors.
I had no confidence - no roadmap - no clue where to go or what I was supposed to talk about.
I walked into dozens of immaculate homes, corner offices and Starbucks completely terrified - believing I would say something...
That's right! We said it.
You. Are. A. BADASS!
We are still fan-girling over Jen's talk this week at super awesome Watermark Books in Wichita.
She was irreverent, honest, sarcastic and inspiring - all the things you'd hope for in an author who titles chapters: Love the One You Is, Your Brain is Your Bitch and Gratitude: The Gateway Drug to Awesomeness.
I keep a copy of Jen's 10 Secrets to Being a Badass in my office. Here are 3 of my favorites:
First visits with potential donors are awkward.
You're meeting a stranger.
They're meeting you.
This can lead to all kinds of nervousness...
...and that voice in your head telling you you need to sound smart, be likeable, say all the right things AND ask for money...
This month, in Fundraisers' Monthly, we're talking all about the Discovery Visit:
How can you show up to your next discovery visit calm and confident?
Here are the 4 keys to being your best in every conversation:
1. Be Authentic. - Be You. This sounds obvious and easy, but it isn't. I've walked into the offices of plenty of super-successful CEO's, lawyers, hedge fund managers, museum curators and filmmakers feeling inadequate. That voice in my head told me I wasn't smart enough or successful enough to be talking to those people.
Happy Friday, Generous Changers!
This week flew by for us - as in, holy moly, where can I buy some more hours?! Hope it was a good one for you.
Coming up next in Fundraisers' Monthly is the discovery visit - how to have the conversation, what to (and not to) ask and how to turn the convo to money, even and especially when it feels super awkward.
So, we're in deep thought about great conversation....
Quote we're digging:
"Be interested, not interesting."
Dale Carnegie said that first - and it's fantastic advice for fundraisers...and every single person who wants to be a great conversationalist!
We're watching: the super brilliant Dan Pink on the ABC's of Persuasion.