Fall has always been my favorite season. The cool weather, the clothes, pumpkin everything – seriously, what’s not to like?
When I started working at Pursuant, though, the season took on a whole new meaning. Year-end fundraising was (and still is) like nothing I had ever experienced. It actually reminds me of a joke my dad told at our wedding:
“Marriage is easy,” he teased. “Your mom and I have been blissfully married for over thirty years and it feels more like thirty minutes . . . underwater.”
(If you’ve ever worked in fundraising at year-end, you get it. If not, let me assure you, my parents truly are blissfully married.)
That’s the really great thing about year-end fundraising, though. Like marriage (and so many other wonderful things in life), it challenges you and forces you to grow.
At year-end, we have the opportunity to trot out some of our most innovative ideas and learn from their results.
We watch our mailboxes fill with collateral from other organizations – an amazing opportunity to support other worthy causes and get ideas for ourselves in the new year.
We push ourselves to get things done better, faster, and for less money.
It’s stressful at the time, as most challenges are, but at the end of the season we experience my favorite part: incredible generosity from donors who are touched and inspired by the pieces that, weeks earlier, made us want to rip our hair out.
And when we come back from the holidays, we have a fresh perspective and a wealth of new data and information to inform strategy in the year ahead – which can only mean good things for us and those supported by our missions.
So, next time you’re ready to throw in the towel because year-end is just too stressful – don’t. Instead, take a deep breath, step away from your desk for a minute, and remind yourself of the phenomenal difference your hard work is going to make in the lives of others.