What To Do If It's Just You: The Importance of Passion

Thu, January 28, 2016 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Susan Black, CFRE
Allene Professional Fundraising

(This is the first of a 3-part series about one-person fundraising shops.)

Recently I went out of town with my husband.  We chose a get-away that would allow me to see and experience a bit of his new passion: white-water kayaking.  After seeing the incredible amount of preparation, packing, traveling, unpacking, etc. (not to mention risk-taking!) he went through to participate in his new hobby, I exclaimed that the only way he could want to continue was if he was extremely passionate about the sport! The same is true for fundraising professionals who run one-person shops. Passion is a key attribute of any fundraiser, but especially those who are running a one-person shop.  In fact, passion may be the only thing keeping you going!  

So how do you keep your passion when you're toiling alone?

Reconnect with the source: Take time in your day-to-day work to interact with those you are benefitting. Nothing will reconnect you better than seeing the faces of little children enjoying school, families receiving a meal, or patrons enjoying the artwork. 

Plug in to a community: Find others like yourself by joining AFP or another professional group and prioritize attendance.  Learning new things about fundraising and sharing your struggles with others will make your situation seem so much more manageable when you feel like you're not alone.

Never Stop Dreaming of What Could Be: For years I kept a little paragraph on my bulletin board with this heading and it always inspired me.  Although I don't recall the source, this great sage reminds us that as fundraisers we are "dream brokers", "helping others realize what their resources could accomplish if only they were directed toward those noble ends." The author encourages us to "use your position to dream immeasurable dreams [for what your organization can accomplish], then share your enthusiasm for what could be with those who can turn them into reality." Good advice, indeed.

Susan Black is a respected fundraising consultant and one of the many great presenters you'll find at the upcoming 2016 DSAIA Leadership Conference. Learn more about her at

See Susan's sessions as well as the full agenda of offerings here

I want to tell you what WONDERFUL time I had at the conference. I learned so much and came away with lots of ideas for our organization. -Barb Waddle, The Upside of Downs of Northeast Ohio


Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action started as a conference bringing together outstanding leadership from Down syndrome organizations around the country. Learn More

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