Good Things File

Two weeks ago I came across the “fundraiser’s daily affirmation” by Katya Andresen (if you’re not already following her weblog, you should). The timing couldn’t have been better. It prompted me to give thoughtful consideration about my chosen career and inspired me to print off her entry to add to my file of “good things” and to leave the following comment on her page:

Fund-raisers share a lot of similarities with Spider-man, the Wizard of Oz, and Red from Shawshank Redemption.

Like Spider-man we work between the silos. We thread together people, ideas, and facilitate connections within our organization. We weave a web of collaboration, communication, and inspiration. Since “great power comes with great responsibility,” humility is essential… lest our web become a Sir Walter Scott cautionary tale.

Like the Wizard of Oz, we work behind the scenes to give our case for support the best face and to transform words and ideas into a great show that inspires those around us to have Heart, show Courage, and think and reflect (Brain) on the transformational power of philanthropy.

Like Red, we are known and respected inside and outside our organization as the person that “knows how to get things.” We may be restricted by available resources or may have to work with difficult people in order to accomplish great things, but we press on and act as catalysts for action.

Our work as philanthropic facilitators is rarely formally recognized. Our names don’t appear in the press releases, we’re not in the photographs… by design we deflect accolades to the philanthropists that invest in our organizational mission and draw attention to the lives that are transformed because of their generosity.

Because of this, I thank you for the encouragement. I will print off your post and add to my “Good Things File” for when I need that extra boost.

The “good thing file,” or what I call the GTF for short, has been a great source of encouragement over the years. I’ve filled it with unexpected letters from benefactors and beneficiaries, e-mails and notes from co-workers, meaningful quotes, and news articles that help refocus my negative and selfish attention to the transformational effect of philanthropy.

Katya’s posting came at the perfect time. Just the evening before I learned that a fellow fundraisier had accepted a job out of state. In two-weeks time I would have to say goodbye to a respected co-worker, trusted confidante, and loyal friend. Today I was thumbing through the file and realized that my colleague has also been a consistent contributer to the GTF over the past four years.

Linda, I’ll miss seeing you every week… but I’m excited for the next chapter as you turn the page toward the future.

About Benjamin Mohler

Benjamin Mohler, CFRE, ACFRE has a keen interest in understanding the connection between culture and the practice of philanthropy. His experiences working with international nonprofit organizations, extensive international travel, together with his graduate work at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and leadership roles with local nonprofits combine to produce his expertise in this area. He’s also a big baseball fan.

Mohler is the Assistant Vice President for Major and Planned Gifts at Eastern Kentucky University. Prior to his current role, he held key roles with The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte, Cedarville University, and The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Advanced Certified Fundraising Professional (ACFRE), and serves AFP at an international level, including his current role chairing the publishing committee for the AFP Fund Development Series.

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