A Fundraiser’s Journey: Which one are you?

Kelly UpdikeA Fundraiser’s Journey Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Which one are you? 

In the nonprofit industry, we are called upon to juggle, play with fire and swallow swords.

Wait a second, I might have confused my job with working in a circus. … Oh. … Never mind.

Because of this job requirement and also being a practically perfect person (aren’t you?), I find it easy to say that I can do oh so many things.


Truthfully, I am pretty good at some things and not wonderful with others. Please do not text me with your thoughts about which is which.

In the fund development realm of our profession, there is fundraising and there is grant writing. These are closely related but very different jobs. Both seek and bring needed monies to the organization. Both require good communication skills and detail-oriented mannerisms.

The difference is subtle. I have found that the fundraiser is fearless. Unafraid to pick up the phone or walk up to a person in a crowded lobby. She loves the nonprofit’s mission and she loves people. She is passionate about mooshing the two together. She makes the Ask.

The great fundraiser delivers cookies to people he is meeting for the first time. He is rarely in the office because he is taking a potential donor on a tour, dropping off a note and meeting a donor at the coffee shop to catch up. All in one day. He makes the Ask.

In my journey as a fundraiser, my ah-ha moment is concise: A great fundraiser does not put off picking up the phone.  I bolded and underlined this sentence and would make it a different color with flashing letters if I knew how to do that. Something I’m not-pretty-good-at, oops.

It’s important to know the simple difference. In yourself and in your fundraising team. It’s okay to be one or the other. But you need at least one phone-picker-upper.

Online resources: http://hubpages.com/business/Fundraising-Versus-Grant-Writing ; https://www.firerecruit.com/articles/1345606-The-differences-between-grant-writing-and-fundraising ;


The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

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