Chapter Leadership Brief 6.22.18

By Jill Scibilia 

Fundrasing Day Matters 

Today is Fundraising Day!  One of my favorite days of the year.  Today, more than 2,000 of us are gathering for what I think is the best one-day conference devoted to our work on the planet.

I have a confession to make.  I attended my first Fundraising Day several years into my fundraising career.  It was much further into my career than it should have been.  There are many reasons for this and excuses I could give you, but the truth is that I did not invest enough in myself and my own career development early in my fundraising career. 

There was always a pressing matter, a reason I told myself it would not possible, mixed with an endless list of to-dos (I have always been good at making lists).  The biggest barrier I felt was the time commitment.  It would mean time away from my endless lists…time away from the “face-time” I felt I needed to put in at the office with my colleagues or with donors and board members.

Then I attended my first Fundraising Day (now several years ago) at the recommendation of a trusted development colleague.  And I realized I had been thinking about it the wrong way.   I realized I needed to invest in myself.  I needed to put the oxygen mask on first, so that I could bring my best self to my mission and the people my organization serves.  I owed it to them and I also owed it to myself.   

I was thinking about the Fundraising Days I have attended over the years and here is a partial list of what this one day has helped me to accomplish:

  • I have learned what I do not know
  • I have learned what I already know and felt affirmed that I was “on-track” or not the only one.
  • I have met development colleagues who “get me.”
  • I have identified external resources that could help my organization get to its next level.  Sometimes organizations need outside counsel.  I have found Fundraising Day to be a great place to evaluate multiple options that might match with what my organization needs at the time. Whether it is campaign counsel, communications solutions, direct response options, event firms or new venues to try for events…it is an excellent place to make these connections.   
  • I also found a new staff member when we needed additional staff capacity.  Two years ago, I ran into a trusted development colleague at Fundraising Day. She gave me a personal referral and her referral is now a key member of our staff team. 

The biggest takeaway I get from Fundraising Day every year is a sense of pride in our profession and what we collectively do to make the world a better place. Because you do.  For all those attending Fundraising Day today, I hope you walk away with that feeling of pride in all of the ways you make NYC and the world a better place. 

I also encourage you to join me in thanking everyone who made Fundraising Day Possible this year: the incredible Volunteer-Run Fundraising Day Committee, our Speakers, our generous Sponsors, our Partners who run the event and our Hosts at the Marriott Marquis.   

Whether or not you attended Fundraising Day this year, please know that the world you do and your voice and engagement in our fundraising community matters.  Thank you.


Fundraising Day in New York 2019

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