toastIn 2008, at an event honoring a colleague, I was asked to say a few words to mark the occasion. On a whim I raised my glass and offered up what I referred to as the “Fundraisers’ Toast.”

The goal of the Fundraisers’ Toast is simple… be deliberate about celebrating the achievements of professional peers. In essence, build relationships internally, not just externally. What better excuse to do so but to raise a glass and recognize others working hard to facilitate philanthropy.

Building Relationships

When asked what I do for a living, I simply reply “I’m a fundraiser.” I’ve found it prompts their further inquiry… to which I say, fundraising is not about asking for money. It is about building relationships with people who have a passion for helping others and engaging them to invest in changing lives through their own gifts of time, talent, and treasure.

Fundraisers spend a lot of time out of the office to build these relationships. This is good.

However, for long-term success, it is also important to spend time within the organization. As you build relationships with donors, remember to do the same with volunteers, interns, program managers, leadership, and your peers. This simple act will help you learn the mission of your organization and make living it effortless. (more…)