The Price of Passion

Having passion has a price.  That price is the inability to accept the status quo, or to just “go along to get along.”   Mediocrity is the enemy and that is a heavy burden.

We talk a lot about how we need to have passion for life and work but, in reality, people with passion are usually thought of as “odd” or “different” in our society.  It’s much easier to put your head down, do your job and get along…in fact that’s the way most of the world works.

I’m going to say something that may irk you:  To be a great fundraiser you have to be passionate about two things—fundraising and the mission of the organization.  I’ve never known a great fundraiser who is not passionate about both.

Sadly, I’ve met too many fundraisers who don’t have passion for either.

Fundraising is hard work.  It’s draining.  When you make a mistake it could be disastrous. There is a lot of stress involved.  That is why if you are not passionate about it, you will burn out quickly and become miserable.

I’ve encountered many miserable fundraisers.

Instead of leaving and finding their passion elsewhere, they sit in their tiny cubicles of fear, bitterness and sadness.  They disdain donors, fight with program people and figure out ways to get by without having to do too much. Have you met these people?

Are you one of them?

It’s painful to witness.  Our response should be compassion because these are good people who just haven’t found their life’s work.

If you are passionate about fundraising, then you know the joy of helping people give away their money and the excitement when you help connect the donor and the need. The donor feels like she got more than she gave.  You are aware of that great moment when the gulf between the giver and the recipient is bridged.

I encourage all of you to live and work from your passion whether that is in fundraising or not. Open yourself up to it and say, “YES!”

Note to readers of Passionate Giving:  Speaking of passion, I think the more the better.  Therefore, you will notice that my good friend and business partner Richard Perry is joining me in authoring this blog.  I’m exciting he’s joining me because he’s so gifted and cares deeply about changing the world.  He is a true man of passion!


About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
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3 Responses to The Price of Passion

  1. I am not sure how a fundraiser could have any sort of longevity in this profession without passion. The best days are when you can connect a donor to your mission and everyone feels great about it. I often tell people that I have the best job in the world, even on the days when I get turned down, feel like I am not serving enough people, or am discouraged by the lack of movement on the hunger needle. I love what I do and I am lucky to have a job in this incredible organization. If you don’t feel that way about your job, then it might be time to look around.

    • I’m with you Marianne. However, sadly, I see many fundraisers who have lost their passion for both the profession and the mission they are raising money for. Discouragement is normal. Passion allows you to rise above that discouragement to see the bigger picture as you help make connections between the donor and the need. Thanks for your great work, Marianne. Philabundance is a great organization with a tremendous task in front of it.

  2. T says:

    Here, Here! Bravo! You said it so well. If you don’t have great passion for the mission and raising funds to support it, you should be doing something else. Another great post!

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