I did not start out raising money. In fact I am an expert at spending it. Personally, professionally, other people’s money… I excel. And after twenty years working in and around the non-profit sector as an actor, concert promoter, venue manager, volunteer coordinator, education director, curriculum developer, director, teacher…. there’s more…. oh… and most recently, and importantly… Development Director. I raise money for a living. And I like it.
I remember, in previous jobs where artistic programming was my focus, that I just needed one of those… what do they call them… oh…development people… they developed…or something… they waived magic wands and money appeared for my programs. Right? I should just hire one of those. Hmm… I also followed the “I’ll fundraise on Friday method.” This ensured that I never, ever got around to it. Grants… they could wait. Sponsorship. It just wasn’t a priority. And worse. I had no training.
So, when I left a job I loved very much (bad breakup– counseling was required) I decided I needed to learn to raise money. I had a bunch of rebound jobs following that experience. I had no idea that your could suffer heart break professionally, but you can. And there is light on the other side.
Now, many years later, I had this crazy thought. What if someone just needed a hand to hold while they achieved their development goals. And why not?
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER! I AM NO EXPERT. In fact, some days, I really wonder how I do anything. Have I mentioned I work full-time and have a three year old?
So, read on, if you dare. Just know I can provide a hand. And MAYBE, something that might help.
Step 1. Do what others do. Seriously. Get a book. Get three. Oh… read them.
Step 2. One week class in San Francisco with the Foundation Center. Seriously. And that’s when I turned the corner.
Step 3. End up in charge of raising $900K of a $6 million dollar budget. Find out the goals are INSANE. Find out that no matter how hard you try, you are SCREWED. Leave job. But not before gaining a million great skills and friends for life.
Step 4: Do what others do. Read their blogs. And stop being afraid. After all, you are not alone and I have extended a hand.
Step 5: Get a great job at a non-profit with realistic goals. Or change how you think about your current position. I’ll post a lot more about this. But know it can be done.
More soon. Please leave comments. I hope to create a small, but crazy community here. See you on the flip side. Of something….