Fundraising with Joy Interview – Brock Warner

Brock Warner, Donor Programs Officer, War Child Canada

BWheadshot_Feb2013Brock’s passion for philanthropy and its ability to be a “catalyst for positive change” are clear to anyone who meets him or reads his iamafundraiser.com blog. I love how Brock is dedicating his career to championing the value of the act of philanthropy, no matter the size of gift. As he explains, he values the ‘how’ as much as the ‘how much.’ His commitment to our sector extends into volunteer roles and recently he served as Co-Chair of the 2013 AFP Congress Marketing Committee for AFP Toronto. Brock chose a career in fundraising rather than pursuing teaching. But there is still a teacher inside him and the social profit sector benefits from his passion for sharing his expertise with others.

Connect with Brock on Twitter @BrockWarner or through his iamafundraiser.com blog.

Janice: What made you choose a career in the social profit sector?

I certainly have my Aunt Wendy to thank for this. She is the Executive Director at the Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation, and she gave me a part-time summer job at the Foundation while I was still in university. I learned quite quickly how fulfilling a career in fundraising can be. A hospital fundraising position was certainly conducive to that – walking in the front door past the donor walls, passing donor-funded equipment, and interacting with volunteers. I had been considering a career in teaching up until that summer, and decided to make a change.

Janice: What does philanthropy mean to you? Has your definition changed over time?

For me, philanthropy is an investment in change – and fundamentally that hasn’t changed in my eyes over time. I believe that all gifts are fundamentally similar in this way. What I’ve come to learn in the last few years of fundraising is that I am most fulfilled in trying help as many people who are interested, able and willing to invest in change to do so.

Janice: How does your organization’s mission connect to your personal values?

War Child’s mission is to protect childhood in areas of the world where children are bearing the brunt of brutal, violent conflict. As a father, I certainly can’t look at pictures of the children in our programs and not see a bit of my daughter in the young faces. Similarly, I can’t help but be shaken to the core by stories of mothers and fathers that have lost children to armed conflict. It’s heavy to work with this each day, but it’s certainly offset by the generosity of donors that want to help War Child to create change.

Janice: What brings you the most joy in your work?

Donors! I love donors. I’m never hesitant to pick up the phone, send a letter or a quick email to a donor because I know that while we may have never met – they and I share a bond through this charity that we both believe in.

Janice: Your job focuses on cultivating relationships and supporting others, what do you do to recharge your batteries?

I walk about 30 minutes to work and I pass the time listening to podcasts. Hearing others talk about what they are passionate about can often spur on some fresh ideas before I get to work. I try to listen to pods that aren’t too serious. Nowadays I’m enjoying Nerdist, JRE, the Jay & Dan Podcast, Harmontown.

Janice: Research shows that philanthropy and volunteerism are proven ways to increase happiness. How have you experienced this in your work and life?

Yes and no. I know how addictive philanthropy and volunteerism can be when it is done right, but I also know firsthand how draining it can be when your needs and interests aren’t being met. They are a two-way street, and it’s important to be up front about what you hope to gain from the experience, and to know when to walk away.

Janice: Our work in the social profit sector allows us to make a contribution. What is the lasting impact you want to make during your career?

Building a relationship with a charity and experiencing firsthand what it means to feel engaged and invested in a cause can be a very transformative experience. It takes time, effort and at least a little money. I would feel pretty good knowing I may have helped a handful of people experience that.

© 2013, Janice Cunning. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this posting if you include my contact information. Please contact me if you wish to reprint any portion of it in any periodical or on a website

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About Janice Cunning

As a certified coach and fundraiser, I am passionate about partnering with people and teams to increase their personal and professional Joy Quota.

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