Fundraisers are Donors, Too

Image copyright Noah Woods, from The Wall Street Journal.

Image copyright Noah Woods. From “Ask Nicely, Please,” The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2011.

As I write this, I am snuggled up on my couch, enjoying a Sunday off. I know very few in the field of arts development who enjoy regular weekends off, and this is my first free day in our Monday-Sunday workweek. From time to time, it’s nice to remember that we are individuals with our own lives.

Most development professionals I’ve met work in their field because of a passion. Often, it is an overarching passion for doing good work. Often, it is coupled with a passion for the particular industry that we work in; I, for example, was steeped in the arts as a bassoonist before I became passionate about the Capitol.

A likely side-effect of this passion is a desire to contribute to other causes. Though artistic causes dominate my roster of charitable donations, the causes that I donate to run the gamut, and my donations are usually driven by an emotional attachment to a charity. Much of my giving is driven by my experience with their programs or their impact in my community. Research−such as this study featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy−finds that I am like many female donors in this regard.

One of my favorite charities, in regard to donor stewardship, is a humanitarian organization. In 2003, before arts development was even a gleam in my eye, I began donating monthly to Children International. My sponsored child, Ginalyn, lives in Manila, Philippines. Children International does a wonderful job of keeping me updated about their work, and updated about Ginalyn. I have enjoyed watching her grow through the years in the photos and reports that they send to me annually. She writes to me, and I have written to her. There have been numerous times when money has been tight, but I am dedicated to continuing to sponsor her to the exclusion of other luxuries. This drive is largely caused by the stewardship of my donation by Children International.

As a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, I am a big fan of the “Donor Bill of Rights.” (If you aren’t familiar with it, you can download it here.) The document is a good resource to qualify what a donor can expect from an organization that they support. On the flip side, donors to our own organizations should be able to expect the same stewardship from us.

What causes do you support outside of your job? Do you feel that you are treated well as a donor? I’d love to hear about some of the best ways that the organizations that you support have showed their appreciation for you contributions.


Posted on February 24, 2013, in Donor Relations, Donors, Industry Research, Philanthropy, Resources, Whitepapers and Downloads and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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