Six New Year’s Resolutions that will Change Your Life…or at Least Make You a Better Major Gift Officer…#2 Love your work!

Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.
– Uri Geller


I lied to you.  In my last post I said that serving your donors should be your #1 resolution.  That was a big fat lie.  No, the most important resolution for 2012 has to be,” Love your work.”  There is no question about it.  Richard and I feel so passionately about this.  If you don’t love your work in major gifts you either need to figure out what has to be overcome to love it, or you have to leave.

I know that sounds harsh, but this major gift work is too difficult, frustrating and draining to NOT love it.  And yes, I know the economy is not great and you have responsibilities with your family, bills to pay and things you want to do, but you are doing your organization, your donors and ultimately yourself a HUGE disservice by working in a profession you don’t love.

Now I’m not talking about a situation where everyday it’s just happiness and joy..  Loving your work doesn’t mean you’re not going to be frustrated or depressed some days.  We all have that.  But loving your work means that most days you can’t wait to start your day.  It means that the hours in the day go by so quickly   you can’t believe it, and when someone asks you about your day, nine times out of ten you can answer that it’s positive!

This is a big deal.  I honestly hurt for people who say they don’t love their jobs.  I cannot imagine getting up each day and dreading coming to work.  If that sounds like you, you have to do something about it.

Why?  Because your job requires you to be genuine, trustworthy and truthful.  If you can’t be that way to yourself, how are you going to be that way with a donor?

It could be that you LOVE major gift work, but you can’t stand the organization you’re working with.  Good.  Leave that place as quickly as you can and go work for an organization that you have passion for.  I run into this all the time.  I’ve known MGO’s who love their work and are really good at their jobs, but they have no passion for the mission of the organization.

They come home drained and depressed.  Why?  Because they’re not being real with themselves OR their donors.  You probably can put up a “front” for a while, but eventually it’s going to eat you alive.

Then, you might just be the type of person who isn’t cut out to be an MGO, or work in fundraising at all. There is nothing wrong with that.  You need to find what you are truly passionate about and go after it.  There are plenty of people who are good and passionate about fundraising who would love your job and perform much better than you.  Let it go and move on to what brings you life.  Not only would you be giving someone a gift, but you’d be giving yourself something even greater…your life back.

The other day I was at a dinner party and someone at the table asked, “What brings you joy?”  Amazingly, it was tough for people to answer this.  But after I mentioned the joy I find in my family life,, I told folks that my work brings me so much joy I almost couldn’t describe it.

People were astonished!  “Gosh, I wish I could love my job,” said a couple of people.  “You just seem to have so much passion for what you do, Jeff,” said others.

And, you know what?…they are right.  Richard and I are so blessed that we get to do what we love everyday.  But, guess what?  So can you.

As I quoted Uri Geller at the beginning of this post, if you love what you do, you’ll be the best in the world.  You will!

So before this new year begins, take some time to ponder whether or not you truly love what you do.  You owe yourself that.



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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