The Joy of Fundraising and Personal Happiness

The joy of fundraising is often found internally through external actions. I was asked recently why I enjoy major gift fundraising so much. I did not have to think very long to come up with my answer.

Simply put, it is the effect a major gift has—on the donor.

There is no question that a substantial financial donation can have a positive impact upon an organization and its mission. What I love, however, is seeing the joy in a donor’s eyes when they make that decision.

Years ago I worked with an elderly gentleman who had been a dairy farmer his entire life. He then made a fortune as a result of a natural gas find on his land. At one point he said, “I have no idea what to do with all this money.” As we listened to him on several visits, it became clear that he was personally devastated by the recent death of his wife and wanted to do something in her memory. The result was a significant naming gift at the college’s student center.

I was moved the day I showed him his wife’s name on the wall of the student center. He broke down in tears and told me he never thought he could do something so wonderful in memory of his wife.

He was experiencing grace upon grace. His stewardship had uncovered God’s grace in his life—even in the midst of the tragedy of his wife’s death. This is just a small snapshot of the joy of fundraising.

And what an honor to be there with him in that journey.