Yet another member of the front-line fundraising team at my organization is departing for a position at another institution. So, as we’ve done in the past, the team gathered last night to bid farewell to¬†Sharon — a valued colleague, trusted confidant, loyal friend, and in my case… my fundraiser?

About two years ago I decided that if I was going to be supporting my institution with philanthropic support, I should have a contact that could help set up my gift and would steward my support. Even though the research I wanted to support was literally thirty feet from my office door, I felt I should still have a chance to have a full donor experience and get to work with a fundraiser in that journey. I asked Sharon if she would be that person.

In Sharon’s departure I’ve had to consider who I’d want to represent my philanthropic interests with the organization. I believe I know who I’ll ask, but the hard part is figuring out the right way to pose the question.

Within the profession we use awkward terminology to refer to the relationship donors share with the person that represents their connection with the organization (e.g. development director and major gifts officer). Neither of these titles reflect the balance that professional fundraisers negotiate between donor intent and organizational need… a highly difficult task in light of donor advised funds, restricted gifts, and performance-driven grant making. These titles also fail to address the other aspects of the fundraising profession, the trust relationship. (more…)