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.

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Jo-Anne Nykilchyk, CFRE

Jo-Anne Nykilchyk, CFRE, Associate Vice President, KCI

Jo-Anne headshotJo-Anne has been with KCI for coming up on 18 years. I was lucky enough to work closely with her during my 10 years at the firm. The research team at KCI turned to Jo-Anne often. We valued her generosity in sharing insight, giving feedback, or helping us brainstorm new ideas. The phrase “let’s ask Jo-Anne” was uttered more times than I can remember. And when I reached about this project the response, as always, was yes.

The other trait I admire in Jo-Anne is her sense of adventure. She has led major campaigns in the post-secondary education and health care sectors and literally criss-crossed the country from West to East. It was fun to watch her pack up her belongings and excitedly embarked on a new campaign in a new province. Her impact on the social profit sector continues to be far-reaching.

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

When I was in high school I saw a poster saying “if you want to change the world, come to the University of Waterloo.” That planted a seed inside me. After I graduated as an arts student it was tough to get a job. I had a degree in political science and was applying for lots of jobs in the government sector. By chance, a woman passed on a copy of my resume to her husband who worked at the Nature Conservancy. That is where I started my career and it just kept growing from there. During the four years I worked there, I was introduced to fundraising. Then someone I knew became a consultant and convinced me to apply for a position which led me down that path.

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

To me philanthropy is about doing good and making positive changes for the community. This could be by making a gift of cash or giving a gift of time. As I work with true philanthropists that inspires me to do more as well. I have been fortunate to meet people who have the attitude that they have enough and they want to give away their excess wealth to make a difference. It is a privilege to help these people make transformational gifts to create change especially when they are doing so for the first time.

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

The simplest thing is that my personal mission and values are aligned with KCI’s | We inspire and enable organizations to raise money, to make the dream of better communities and improved lives a reality. I was a part of the process to identify and create this vision and it really resonates with me. It is important to help clients and volunteers to see what everyone working together can do – the power of one multiplied.

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

There are several things I love about working as a consultant.

I love working with volunteers and staff and helping them to make their community a better place. I am inspired by the passion and commitment that they have invested in their cause.

I also love getting to use a variety of skills every day – creating strategies, motivating staff and volunteers, problem solving, event planning, writing, communicating, creativity and helping to distinguish each organization. It is never the same. Additionally I have had the opportunity to travel to across the country, to live in different communities and to truly see how unique each one really is.

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

I spend time in my hometown of Vancouver where I have no computer or TV. I stop and turn off all communications and spend time with friends. I also get a lot of joy out of spending time with family, including my nieces and nephews and grandchildren (one of whom is pictured here).

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

I have been really fortunate in falling into this career because it does bring great joy. Seeing an organization reach its goal and get to do its important work brings tremendous satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. As does working with the staff and volunteers to reach these goals.

When I returned to Kitchener three years ago, I got to visit the emergency room as a patient and experience the results of the work that I had been part of. It was a small thing but had a huge impact on me, “I helped to make this such a great new Emergency Department”. Because I usually move on after a campaign it was nice to have the experience of going back and seeing firsthand the benefit.

At the University of Waterloo, my alma mater, I was giving during my time working there as a consultant. It reconnected with my experience as a student and reminded me of a bursary I received to help me to get through to the end of the year. I realized I wanted to give money so that students in the Faculty of Arts from Northern Ontario could have a fund in case they needed or wanted to get home (due to emergencies, home sickness etc.). The University was trying to promote mental health issues for students and we decided to flow the money through this area allowing me to create something unique. I was able to direct the money to an area that I was passionate about.

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?

The compliment I have received that is meaningful to me is when someone says “I learned a lot from you.” If I help people to enhance their fundraising skills and build their confidence doing it, they will have a bigger impact in their communities. I get joy from the teaching side. Sharing my knowledge and helping others grow is a part of the consulting role I really enjoy. Teaching and enhancing the skills of others broadens the ripple effect of doing more good.

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Maeve Strathy

Maeve Strathy, Alumni Development Officer, Trinity College School and Founder, What Gives Philanthropy

Maeve headshotIn May of this year, I attended the first “Midtown Toronto Fundraisers Social” – now #maevesmeetup. Maeve created this event to connect the many fundraisers in midtown Toronto. Luckily for me (a downtowner), she made the event open to all and #maevesmeetup has quickly become a “must attend” event for those who are passionate about fundraising and the social profit sector. And a really fun night out.

Since 2010 Maeve has been the Alumni Development Officer at Trinity College School, where she engages the grads of the last decade (GOLD) and manages their Annual Giving (including the 5 & 10-year reunion classes), among other things. She is inspiring a new generation of donors.

She is also part of a new generation of fundraisers making their mark in the sector. She is the founder of What Gives??? A blog dedicated to philanthropy & fundraising. Through What Gives Philanthropy, Maeve volunteers as a consultant for emerging companies and organizations requiring help with fundraising efforts. She has stated that “on a grander, long-term (15-20 years) scale” What Gives Philanthropy will evolve into “an arena for consulting, idea-sharing, and discussion.” Somehow I doubt that we will have to wait that long to see Maeve bring this dream into reality. In just a few years she has already become an inspiration to so many.

To connect with Maeve visit her blog at http://www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com/

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

It all started with a need for extra cash as a university undergrad… a situation I imagine we’ve all been in. I took a friend’s advice and applied to work at the Annual Giving call centre at the university, calling alumni of the school and parents of current students to share campus updates and – of course – ask for their financial support of the school. It was a great job, a fun environment to work in, and it turned out I was pretty good at it, too. I ended up working there for 3 ½ years, first as a caller, and then as a student supervisor. As corny as it may sound, I fell in love with fundraising. I was very passionate about my (now) alma mater, but it was the psychology, the language, the process, and everything else that went along with it that made me love the work. So, like many others, I fell into fundraising, but it was clear to me pretty quickly that this is the field for me.

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

I use this phrase a lot in my blog because it resonates so intensely with me. I once heard James Fleck – the well-known Canadian philanthropist – say that philanthropy is the alignment of a person’s resources with their passion. That’s what philanthropy means to me. At the heart of it, it’s about passion; passion for people, passion for an organization’s mission, passion for a cause, an issue, etc. When someone’s so passionate about something that they’re willing to part with their hard-earned money? That’s a beautiful thing. And my definition has changed over time and I’m sure it will continue to, because as I continue on in my career it becomes loaded with experiences and examples of philanthropy. It begins to mean a lot more than just the Greek word for the love of humankind.

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

I work at an independent school, grades 5-12, that is nearing its 150th anniversary. My father went to the school, as well as my sister, cousin, and other more distant relatives, and the school is in the town that my grandfather lived in for the later years of his life. It’s rich in personal history for me, which makes it very appealing. But beyond that, I really believe in education. Some people may question the needs of a primarily tuition-funded school compared to other charities. But at the end of the day, the world’s biggest problems will be solved by educated people, and so I think on that level, that it’s a great organization to be a part of. Beyond that, the actual mission of the school I work at is Developing habits of the heart and mind for a life of purpose and service. So as a fundraiser, I’m helping to support an institution that wants to mould young minds so that they can live purposeful lives in service to others. I think purpose is what we all really need for ourselves and service is what we can share with others, and so I definitely support that mission.

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

Connecting with people. That’s the #1 thing. I’m an introverted person, in that I gain energy from time spent alone or with just a few people, and I love that my work involves a lot of quiet time at my desk, writing solicitation letters or customizing major gift proposals for prospects. However, variety is the spice of life, and that’s why I love my job. For all my time spent quietly working, there’s just as much time spent meeting alumni of the school, or parents of current or past students; people who continue to stay connected with the institution because it has made a positive impact on their lives, directly or indirectly. Speaking with these people and hearing their stories not only makes me proud to work for the school, but it also enhances my ability to seek support for the school. These people are what make the work worth doing.

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

As I said before, I’m an introvert, and as much as I love connecting with people, it definitely takes a lot of energy from me. I recharge through my quiet work when I have the opportunities to do it; I recharge from time spent at home with my partner and our cat, reading, relaxing, and cooking; I recharge at the gym; I recharge by maintaining close and wonderful relationships with family and friends; and I recharge connecting with new people outside of work. In May I held my first “Midtown Toronto Fundraisers Social”, now called “#maevesmeetup”. This idea came out of a conversation I had with Paul Nazareth where he encouraged me to connect together the many fundraisers who live and/or work in midtown Toronto. These meet-ups (the third was on October 10th) have been great opportunities for inspiration, connection, networking, and more! Meeting people who are as passionate about fundraising and the social profit sector as I am has been totally rejuvenating.

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

In so many ways! I make an effort to volunteer when I can with different organizations including professional organizations like AFP and CCAE, and I find that involvement and volunteerism makes me that much more excited to do my own work. You meet people who work for the good of society and the people in it, and it’s totally inspiring! Furthermore, I’ve developed so many skills for my career through my volunteerism that I otherwise wouldn’t have at this stage, and so it’s really wonderful in that way, too.

In regards to philanthropy, I certainly support causes on my own – mostly art organizations or educational institutions – and I get a lot out of that, too. No one knows better than a fundraiser how far those dollars can go, and so it’s a great thing to know that I’m making an impact.

Finally, outside of my own philanthropy, I am witness to so many philanthropists; people who put their money behind the causes they’re passionate about. I’ve never met a philanthropist who wasn’t a positive person, or who didn’t seem to have a lot of love and happiness in their life. I think there’s a good reason for that.

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?

That is a great question! At this stage in my career, I think an impact I want to make is on young potential donors. Too many people I know have an idea of philanthropy as only being an option for Warren Buffet and Bill Gates; grey or white-haired, extremely wealthy men. I want to change that perception, and show people that we can all make a difference simply because we’re giving. It doesn’t matter how much, it just matters that we participate. It matters that we plant the seed for a culture of philanthropy, and inspire a new generation of donors to give. I want to be part of that.

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Jeff Walker

Jeffrey A. Walker, PhD | Director of Research, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) Development & Alumni Relations

Jeff headshotTo me Jeff is a storyteller with an imagination and sense of humour that is out of this world. We first connected through APRA International. He was (and now continues to be) part of the Editorial Advisory Committee for APRA’s journal Connections. He also wrote a futurist column called “One Foot in the Future.” I can’t think of a better person for that job (and not only because of his love of Star Trek). It seems fitting that Connections is what brought us together because I always think of Jeff as writer / fundraiser.

In fact, it was after nearly a decade of college English teaching that Jeff started his career as a philanthropy researcher / writer in 1998. He has been Director of Research at UWM since January 2011 and had previously been an Assistant Director of Research there (1999-2002). He held similar positions at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation (2003-2011) and Lawrence University (1998-1999).

When I began this series of interviews I hoped to have his voice included. I knew he would be delightfully provocative. His definition of philanthropy as “concentric circles of stories” resonates because I love how prospect research is the chance to tell someone’s life story. Enjoy reading and pondering Jeff’s words. I bet it will leave you in anticipation for the future stories he will tell.

Connect with Jeff at Linkedin or on Facebook.

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

I wish I could describe how this fit into some grand, super-strategic career plan, but – in fact – I just stumbled in. Toward the end of my undergraduate years and throughout grad school, I envisioned becoming a professor. But the job market for newly minted humanities PhDs was abysmal when I finished my doctorate in English/Modern Studies. I lingered in the academy for about three years, as an adjunct instructor, mainly teaching required sections of Introductory Composition. In some ways, it was a wonderful experience: I loved working with students who were eager to learn, and who responded to intellectual challenge. But the course load and compensation were awful; gradually, I realized that path offered no long-term future and, in the near term, little genuine professional growth. With something akin to grief, I started to accept the idea that that particular job market wasn’t likely to loosen up at all. (And it still hasn’t.)

This was in the mid- to late 1990s. Through what then passed as online searching, I tiptoed into exploring opportunities in higher education administration, where I imagined my reader/analyst/writer skill-set might be put to good use. That led to a few fascinating interviews (as far away as southern California), and it also showed me that I really enjoyed online work. In those days, I knew absolutely nothing about the field of advancement/philanthropy research or the APRA universe. One day, though, I discovered my undergraduate alma mater was looking for a “Development Research Officer.” The ad said they wanted someone with “insatiable curiosity.” That certainly got my attention – and I was rather quickly hooked.

My philanthropy research/writing adventure has now spanned both my undergrad and grad school alma maters, as well as a highly respected local health care system. Nearly every day, I’ve had the privilege of learning new things – often, about professional/personal life-stories, industries, or technology innovations I wouldn’t otherwise have been drawn to studying.

And speaking of “industries”: Your use of the phrase “social profit sector” is striking. Typically, we see “non-profit sector,” or “not-for-profit.” In that framework, with the “for-profit” corporate world juxtaposed with the “not-for-profit” Everything Else, the work we do is de-valued: not designed to generate – not motivated by – profit; implicitly, not producing value. Your more affirming and, I think, more accurate framework says that all work has value, adds value, produces profit. The question isn’t profit vs. no profit; rather, it’s where the profit goes, and who tends to benefit the most.

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

For me, philanthropy has always – in part – been about story-telling: research information that helps to build or strengthen relationships, or words in a specially crafted proposal or letter that inspire some sort of action. It would probably be more precise to describe concentric circles of stories. In the case of research, for example, this would involve a story about a constituent that prompts a colleague to connect, or re-connect; the colleague shares with the constituent a focused, tailored story – perhaps a proposal – about the organization; and the constituent, ideally, feels inspired to create a story of her or his own: a story about how the organization fits with a personal passion and warrants a strategic investment of time or money that will benefit all involved, that will change the status quo in some significant way. Stories are always about the drama of change: people changing, and people struggling to change the world. That’s philanthropy – and that’s the energy I’ve always seen in it, at least at its best.

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

The University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee campus – known as “UWM” – serves a high percentage of students for whom an undergraduate education would traditionally be out of reach. These are young people from very under-resourced families, who really couldn’t pursue a college degree without a great deal of scholarship support, or other forms of financial aid. For them, that degree is a kind of personal and professional lifeline – a ticket into an otherwise inaccessible network of opportunities and possibilities. That part of UWM’s mission is personally resonant for me because I was basically a first-generation college student. My uncle finished college, but neither my mom nor my dad did.

The broader mission connection for me is the obvious organizational focus on higher education, on learning. All through school (grade school, high school, college, and grad school), I loved the personal challenge of learning and the ways I felt stretched by reading, thinking, and writing. My undergraduate experience – at a small, well-regarded liberal arts college in northeastern Wisconsin – taught me a fair amount of “what,” of content, but, far more importantly, more enduringly, a great deal of “how” and “why.” It accelerated my curiosity and helped me develop some practical (and a few idiosyncratic!) habits for lifelong learning. Working for an organization where a love of learning and a drive for personal growth and achievement are valued deeply is true gold. Helping the organization build relationships with philanthropic investors who are passionate about those values is priceless.

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

I enjoy the challenge, the variety, the constant learning, and the frequent immersion in “gee-whiz,” almost Star Trek-style data analysis and technology. I especially enjoy serving as a kind of strategic filter for our Development and Alumni Relations team, diving into the daily tsunami of constituent information, cultural and industry and philanthropic trends, and national and global news, and re-surfacing with a few practical nuggets that could actually help colleagues in their work. Without a doubt, though, I find the most joy in preparing major gift prospect referrals. They often feel like complex puzzles: finding the “right” constituent from somewhere in the vast not-on-our-radar pool; piecing together just the “right” parts – the most compelling, most action-motivating parts – of that constituent’s professional, personal, and philanthropic story; and then presenting the findings in just the “right” way, to the “right” front-line colleague. Maybe the word “puzzles” doesn’t fully capture the tingly thrill I often feel with referrals; puzzles can be pretty darn frustrating. Some forest imagery might be more apt. A referral is a tiptoe-ish exploration beyond the edge of the team’s familiar, well-mapped forest. You go out ahead, into some untraveled, totally new territory; it’s a little dark and mysterious, and there could be stuff that doesn’t make much sense at all; but you look around, poke here and there, and find what you can; and then you come back with – yes – the most interesting, evidence-grounded story possible. You say: “Hey, folks – come along and look at this. There’s no clear path, but the trip will be well worth it.”

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

Travel is great, because it lifts you out of the usual routines, brings you in touch with new places and people and ideas, and forces you to think on your feet and learn fast; it’s fun, and usually pretty eye-opening. But it can also be expensive and time-consuming – so reading is a wonderful alternative. If I don’t have sufficient “imaginary travel” time with my Kindle every Sunday afternoon or evening, I feel that lack throughout the following week. The two elderly collies we share our home with also help me to recharge. Communicating and romping around and just living day-to-day with them can involve a very different kind of thinking – not the ways of perceiving the world or using language that office culture is built on. Nearly every day, those two madcap, smart, highly “vocal,” irresistibly sweet dogs teach me quite a lot. And their fierce curiosity about every aspect of their environment is a source of real inspiration.

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

For several years in the early to mid-2000s, I had the opportunity to help lead the Wisconsin chapter of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA). It was a time of considerable change and growth for the chapter, and having a hand in some of that was – and remains – one of the most rewarding volunteer activities I’ve had the privilege of participating in. I’ve also been involved in various ways with APRA International’s quarterly professional journal, Connections. I guest-edited an issue on the varied paths people have followed into philanthropy research; from 2006 to 2009, I wrote a futurist column called “One Foot in the Future”; and I’ve served on – and recently rejoined – the Editorial Advisory Committee. Because I love writing, these Connections experiences have been richly rewarding.

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?

Following about a decade of college teaching, philanthropy research/writing has been my second career. So far, a couple of experiences stand out. While working previously at the aforementioned health care system, I was the lead writer for a multimillion dollar proposal in support of a cancer and blood disorders center. It was fully funded, and I’m delighted to know that some words on a page helped advance a relationship enough that lives could be transformed – in some cases, even saved. To be a part of something like that is pretty humbling – and puts an awful lot of other stuff in perspective.

Before working in Health Care Land, I had been at UWM – not as Director of Research (my current role), but as an Assistant Director. During that earlier stretch here (1999-2002), in a prospect referral, I identified a graduate who was, back then, a rising star in Hollywood. In the intervening years, UWM was able to develop a good relationship with this now-celebrity-status individual, one that is continuing to grow today. There are some fascinating possibilities with the person, and I appreciate being able to step back, take the long view, and trace the whole arc of the story.

But your question was really about “lasting impact.” If I have that at all, I’m imagining it might come from what I’m planning will be my next (third!) career: full-time fiction writing. We’ll see how that goes. I can’t wait.

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Lisa Howley

Lisa Howley, Director of Relationship Management at Johns Hopkins Institutions

Lisa headshotLisa is a passionate fundraiser and leading expert on relationship management and its impact on organizational development and growth. I first met her in 2005, when we were fresh new members of the APRA Board of Directors. I instantly felt connected to Lisa – she is an authentic person with a wonderful sense of curiosity and warmth. Our volunteer roles often overlapped as we worked on the conference planning committee and the association’s professional journal. Lisa is always willing to share her passion through volunteer leadership roles and speaking engagements for APRA, MARC, CASE, and AFP. What I most admire is how Lisa brings her full self to these roles and how she creates a sense of enthusiasm and engagement that is contagious.

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

Like many others, the social profit sector chose me. I started in my career as a family counselor, which I did for several years. After burning out, I turned to my passion for writing, and was a writer and editor for a Baltimore publishing company focused on business creation and marketing.

I was looking to continue my career as a writer when I responded to an ad in the local paper for Johns Hopkins which said, ‘Are you a writer? Then we want you!’ or something along those lines. The ad was for a Development Research position – and that is how I began my career in fundraising. It was a love affair from the start.

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

When I was beginning in high school, I vividly remember talking to the father of a close family friend about what I wanted to do after I graduated. I told him that my dream was to build public libraries and help ensure that anyone who wanted to read had free access to books. I didn’t know that what I was describing was philanthropy; all I knew was the tremendous impact public libraries had had on me growing up and wanting to give that positive experience to someone else in return. I also knew I did not (and suspected I never would) have the money to make this dream a reality.

At that time, I only knew of philanthropy from the giving side. It was a profound discovery to learn about the fundraising profession years later. Working in fundraising has changed my view of philanthropy, in the sense I now have a richer and much more complete understanding of how philanthropy operates and the impact philanthropy has in the world.

Janice: How does your organization’s mission connect to your personal values? What brings you the most joy in your work?

I am a life-long learner, and so Johns Hopkins’ mission connects to my very core. I have witnessed many advances in education, knowledge and research as a result of philanthropy. These advances continually move and inspire me, both in my work and personal life.

And for me it is also about possibility for the betterment of mankind. I will never forget sitting in a movie theater in 1986 as a young girl watching Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home, where the crew has traveled back in time to a 1986 earth. Towards the end of the movie, Kirk and Bones have gone to a hospital to retrieve Chekov, and Bones encounters a sick women lying on a gurney in the hallway. He mutters something about barbarian treatment she is receiving and pulls out a flat item to scan her body, and then proceeds to cure her with this item! I sat in my seat in a state of wonderment thinking – this is the future of medicine, this will happen, and I want to be part of it.

So it is a joy to work at an organization where I feel that I am part of the future, where the betterment of mankind is happening all around me, and that my efforts help in some small way to support this.

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

I strive to make the most of my time with family and friends, and weekends are always for them. I am an avid reader, and still writing. I have been thinking lately of taking a shot at a screenplay or comic book, some kind of new medium I haven’t tackled before. I also love to travel and explore. I have a goal of visiting every country in my lifetime – four down, only 192 left to go!

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

Yes. I have regularly volunteered with APRA over the past 10 years, and have found these experiences incredibly enriching and rewarding. But more often I see it from the donors who have given to the various organizations I have worked out. When I first started in fundraising it amazed me to hear donors who had made significant gifts thank us for the opportunity to give and to make an impact! Our job is to provide meaningful and fulfilling experiences for volunteers and donors, and if we do our job right, I truly believe that gratitude is felt by all.

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?

To make the possibilities of tomorrow happen now. While I can’t cure cancer or pioneer a new mode of learning, I am always looking for new ways to advance our relationship management efforts at Hopkins. I would like to think that my work has had an impact on the growth and development of the relationship management profession, and will continue to in the future.

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Lori Hood Lawson

Lori Hood Lawson, Co-founder & CEO, WorkingPhilanthropy.com

Lori HeadshotI originally ‘met’ Lori on Twitter and then the first time we met in real life, she was live tweeting from a presentation I was giving. This is a perfect illustration of Lori – who is always engaged and connected. As co-founder and CEO of WorkingPhilanthropy.com, her passion is helping to keep the non-profit sector current in the latest issues and trends. As Lori explains, she uses her development research skills to “help organizations turn data into actionable fundraising intelligence.” Lori takes her passion, skill, and entrepreneurial spirit and channels it to help non-profit organizations use data to support and advance their mission.

To learn more about Lori, visit http://www.workingphilanthropy.com/ or connect on Twitter @WorkingLori

Janice: What made you choose a career in the social profit sector?
I really feel it chose me! Growing up, you simply helped other people. Growing up with that sense of charity instilled in me the “do good with your life” mantra. My kids have asked me how I knew I wanted to do what I do now. I told them, well, I always enjoyed helping other people, and I love information and data and learning new things every day, so this was the most natural fit for me, to put knowledge to work for good.

Janice: What does philanthropy mean to you? Has your definition changed over time?
Philanthropy technically means “love of humanity,” and to me philanthropy means helping others, whether it’s sharing expertise, donating money, promoting someone’s cause through social media or volunteering time. Over time my philanthropy definition has changed to include the benefits of helping oneself while helping others. There are numerous studies which show the mutually beneficial value of philanthropy. And it’s true – the “giving high” one receives from doing something selfless is like no other! So, one might think it’s not selfless if it makes one feel good, right? The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) conducted a study which showed giving could improve your health. (http://noetic.org/blog/how-giving-improves-your-health-and-heals/) I believe it can also improve your mental health and well being. We are all fortunate there are mega philanthropists, but we can all benefit from giving, no matter how small our contribution may seem in comparison. I believe it was Mohammed Ali who said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth.” Philanthropy is paying your rent!

Janice: How does your organization’s mission connect to your personal values?
Our tagline for WorkingPhilanthropy.com is “Helping Good Do Great,” and at the end of the work day, I do reflect for a few moments to make sure I executed on that tagline. My personal values include forming lasting relationships with good people who are truly dedicated to and passionate about their life’s pursuits. In my professional life, that’s where I can really add the most value – in working with good people who have a mutual appreciation and respect for each other’s work to bring the organization closer to meeting its mission. I have been fortunate in being able to put this mantra at front and center in my relationships with my clients. And I think it really pays off for all sides of the work relationship.

Janice: What brings you the most joy in your work?
I confess. I am THAT data geek. I love the power of information and strategic use of such. So, when I find that piece of information which can connect the philanthropic interests of a prospective donor with an organization’s mission – yes, I do a happy dance! But it really comes back around to philanthropy – and helping others. When my children were young, and they would ask the question, for the 1,000th time, “Mommy, what do you do?” I would always say, “Mommy helps other people help other people, animals, and the world.” The kids are getting older now, but that is still what I do.

Janice: Your job focuses on cultivating relationships and supporting others, what do you do to recharge your batteries?
RUN! Yes, while I’m not a triathlete by any stretch of the imagination, I do get out and run and walk in my neighborhood. My husband David and I try to fit in a run even when we travel for work-related reasons. We’ve enjoyed seeing cities in this different way, instead of just the conference hotel treadmill. Additionally, I run with an app on my phone, called Charity Miles, which works with your GPS and corporations to donate to your selected charity a certain amount per mile logged. You can also use it for cycling. So, yes, I continue my philanthropy even when I’m recharging my batteries.

Janice: Research shows that philanthropy and volunteerism are proven ways to increase happiness. How have you experienced this in your work and life?
I have a variety of clients, organizations focused on animals, environment-related causes, education reform, education – all of these organizations have missions which attracted me, and appealed to my own values and beliefs. I am happy every day working with my clients – they are good people with great missions. It’s wonderful I get to do what I love for organizations with fascinating missions!

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?
This is a really interesting question. People who know me well know I often say, “Hey, see that building? I found the person who made that happen!” But it’s not the building that is the impact – it’s what was learned within that building, the relationships formed, how those students went on to do something great. The gifts received by my clients which were a result of strategy I provided to them – those gifts have a lasting impact for generations to come – for the environment, for education, for the protection of animals. I believe the lasting impact made during my career happens every day. My work each day is impactful, and for that I am truly blessed.

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Sharilyn Hale

Sharilyn Hale, CFRE, Principal, Watermark Philanthropic Advising

Sharilyn headshotSharilyn is the Principal of Watermark Philanthropic Advising, offering strategies for meaningful giving, receiving and leading. I had the pleasure of attending a recent presentation she led on fundraising and philanthropy as a vocation. She created a space for us to explore the meaning and purpose of our work by telling stories about our experiences with both giving and receiving. It was especially powerful to hear fundraisers share their own stories of being the recipient of others’ generosity. This is just one example of how Sharilyn emphasizes and brings to life the idea of values-based philanthropy.

With 20 years in her vocation, Sharilyn has lived her values and made a tremendous impact in the community and within the profession. She is Immediate Past Chair of the Board of CFRE International and was one of the leaders to initiate Canada’s first graduate degree program in Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership at Carleton University. She herself earned an MA in Philanthropy and Development in 2004 from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

To learn more about Sharilyn, visit http://watermarkpa.com/ or follow her on Twitter @SharilynDH

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

It initially chose me, and in time I chose it! Unusual for our field, my first few jobs out of university were in fund development, although not by conscious planning or decision making. It was only when I left for a private sector position that I discovered where I wanted to be, and where my heart was. That was when I made a choice to return to this space, and more specifically to commit to service in philanthropic work.

This experience of finding my place, my vocation, was powerful and I wanted to explore it. That’s why I later did my graduate thesis on vocation and fundraising, and happily discovered that it is a topic that resonates with others.

Now I would say I choose to STAY within the sector – and work to strengthen it – because I believe it has such an important role in deepening compassion and generosity, advancing social justice, igniting creativity and innovation, and inspiring transformation. It is a dynamic place.

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

A pioneer of our profession – the late Dr. Robert Payton – offered us, “philanthropy is voluntary action for the common good.” I like the breadth of that definition, it recognizes the spirit of the action as well as the inter-dependence at the heart of community.

But also meaningful for me is philanthropy as love…love of humankind, as in caring for each other but also nurturing what it is to be human. That becomes about the donor just as much as about the recipient. And that is a root value of our profession. I wonder what our programs would look like if we more often viewed ourselves as facilitators and stewards of love!

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

Watermark Philanthropic Advising is my own consultancy and I purposely wanted to reflect my values through it and the service offerings. “Meaningful giving, receiving and leading” implies a thoughtfulness and authenticity in those activities, which goes beyond the easy default of transaction. When organizations, fundraisers and philanthropists intentionally reflect on their values and then express them through their giving, receiving and leading, they are active agents in creating new meaning and impact. That’s my orientation, and that of Watermark.

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

So many things! There is the satisfaction of knowing I’m actively participating in something bigger than me. There is the enjoyment of working with philanthropists and volunteers at a time when they want to do something wonderful…that’s an honour. I’ve also loved my staff teams, delighted in working alongside them, seeing their passion and commitment, and then observing their growth and development in their own leadership.

My greatest professional times of joy however, have been those special moments when everything has come together and everyone sees what they have done collectively and that it has actually made a difference. Our work at times is aspirational, but when aspiration becomes reality, it is inspiring for everyone…including the fundraiser!

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

This is an important question for those who work in our sector. It can be demanding work – physically, intellectually and emotionally. Self-care can be overlooked when you’re focused on saving or changing the world – but we do the world no favour when we’re exhausted, resentful and overwhelmed.

But going deeper than a battery re-charge, there have been times when I have needed to reconnect with or redefine my sense of vocation and purpose…the key things that motivate and intrinsically drive me. This personal work often requires more than a good night’s sleep. Perhaps it is taking a sabbatical or leave of absence (which at one point I was fortunate to experience), going on a retreat, or sharing in a deeper way with colleagues in a similar place.

This personal work is not always relaxing – it can be difficult, disorienting and uncomfortable, and can demand to be done at inopportune times and under less than ideal circumstances. But doing it is immensely important to our authenticity and growth as leaders, and our revitalization. I think organizations in our sector need to acknowledge and support this form of renewal.

My dear friend and colleague – Patricia Thompson – as a Metcalf Foundation Innovation Fellow spent two years exploring the topic of vocational renewal among nonprofit leaders. I heartily recommend her two resulting papers on the topic, posted on the Foundation’s website.

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

Absolutely! When I talk about my “work” I usually mean both paid and unpaid activity as both bring me tremendous satisfaction and happiness.

My greatest volunteer experience was with CFRE International, where I spent seven years on the Board of Directors. I found the testing and psychometric aspects to CFRE’s work to be intellectually stimulating, but even more exciting…and fun… was being able to develop a global perspective on our profession!

With CFRE I worked closely with our colleagues at AFP and AHP and more than 20 partner associations around the world. I engaged with fundraisers in Italy, Brazil and Australia, and visited professional communities in the UK, East Africa and Asia. In different countries, and different languages, I discovered a passionate and shared commitment to effective and accountable fundraising practice with the goal of making the world better.

I will always be grateful to CFRE for these experiences as a volunteer leader.

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?

I suspect that lasting impact can only be assessed in hindsight, and who knows if it ends up being what we had anticipated! But there are two key areas where I’ve been focusing my attention.

First, I’m particularly engaged by how our fundraising profession and practice are growing and evolving globally, especially in the developing world, and how we can best prepare people to do this work. As such, I’ve been active in projects that train, equip and support sector leaders, and which advance our collective body of professional knowledge.

Second, is advancing philanthropy within organizations and among those who work within them. Many organizations (large and small) have inspiring programmatic missions but lack understanding of their philanthropic mission, which extends beyond just needing money. This means they and their donors are missing out. It can also make it challenging for them to fully benefit from the skill and spirit of even the most talented fundraiser. Of course, a fundraiser with their own framework for philanthropy can more effectively provide the kind of philanthropic leadership our organizations need. This is a thread that weaves through my work.

There are many challenges and opportunities within our sector today which require our attention, thoughtfulness and leadership. It can be daunting. Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that, “nothing worth doing can be completed in a lifetime”. And in Consulting as a Calling, Geoff Bellman wrote, “We make a difference…and it is not that important.” Both are humbling yet refreshing reminders for all of us…and what a relief!

Fundraising with Joy Interview – Allison Howell Quinton

Allison Howell Quinton, Senior Advancement Officer, United Way Toronto

Allison headshot2What first strikes people about Allison is her passion for social justice and her desire to make the City of Toronto a better place for us all to live. Every time someone I know meets Allison, they comment on this passion. Other fundraisers have told me that talking to her inspires them to recapture that spark that connects them to their work. What a beautiful gift. I personally know that her laughter and enthusiasm energizes the United Way Toronto team. Allison shares the activities that help her connect with her “rose tinted glasses.” Sharing this view, she helps other fundraisers, volunteers and donors experience the joy that comes from city building.

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

I started out working in the criminal justice field and found it was really frustrating and ultimately draining to work in a system with so many barriers. Some of the social service agencies I worked with were so hard working and well intentioned, but were constantly worrying about securing the next grant. It gave me an appreciation for the need for sustainable funding and the value of building a philanthropic culture within an organization.

Like many fundraisers, I didn’t deliberately choose this field, but started writing proposals, and case for supports, and then got involved with a capital campaign and really loved it. It’s enabled me to work with extraordinarily generous people who care deeply about our community. It’s inspiring to learn about their concerns and hopes to make an impact, and I’m lucky to have found a role that can provide them with avenues to share their personal values and beliefs.

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

I like to think of philanthropy as a “love of humankind.” It’s broad and inclusive, yet simple. When I started my career, I looked at philanthropy as another way of saying fundraising, but over time it’s taken on a much broader emotional context for me. It looks at the underlying motivations for actions, and our common humanity in connecting with and supporting one another.

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

The initial reason I wanted to get involved with United Way Toronto was because of the mission. I had worked on several capital campaigns with organizations that I identified with, but wasn’t necessarily passionate about. With United Way, there’s a real passion, and a personal commitment to our work. It’s about meeting urgent human needs so that people mitigate crisis. It’s also about helping people to help themselves by providing tools to sustain them for the long-term. It’s about offering early childhood education, parenting classes, meaningful youth employment and early alternatives to the justice system so that we give our next leaders a fighting chance. It’s about offering positive role models and peer groups. It’s about equity in the distribution of our resources, such as healthcare services and healthy foods. United Way works on such a large scale in every corner of this city and I’m constantly blown away by the impact it has.

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

Working with people from all walks of life brings me a lot of joy. I get energized working with a group of volunteers who have the passion, commitment, the position to influence decision makers in the city for good. I’m also incredibly encouraged when I hear from agency and resident leaders about how they are changing our city, one neighbourhood at a time.

But when I’m able to connect donors with the people leading and benefiting from grassroots programs it brings it to another level. To see the pride and gratitude for the shared experience is hard to describe in words.

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

Yoga! That’s my go-to for down time, for energizing, for working through problems and for rediscovering my rose tinted glasses. I also find it grounding (even though it can also be exhausting), to spend time playing with my toddler. It’s a true joy to share his awe and amazement for the world.

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

In my personal life I know that giving something has a longer term effect on my happiness than receiving something. When I give to something to someone I feel great for weeks! Whether it’s a personal gift or a charitable gift, the act of giving is powerful and positive.

Volunteering has been a great way to connect with people I may not have met in other avenues. From networking with other fundraisers, to local community initiatives, to small non profit boards I’ve learned a lot through my experiences. It gives me a sense of connection and commonality that’s important to me.

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?

I’d like to encourage everyone regardless of income or availability to contribute in a way that has meaning to them. From rebuilding public parks, to volunteering to look after your neighbour’s kids, to organizing fundraising events and making donations you feel in your budget, all of these actions for the greater good are critical to building the charge we seek in our world. I would also seek to change the way organizations value the contributions of all types of gifts and encourage all types of activism and engagement. Without the active participation of people and the social profit sector, there are huge risks, and facilitating greater participation on all levels is critical to a happy healthy society.

Fundraising with Joy Interview Series – Helen Brown

Helen Brown, The Helen Brown Group LLC and ShareTraining

The Helen Brown Group, Brian Phillips Photography, Boston Corporate PhotographyHelen is the founder of The Helen Brown Group, a prospect research consulting company with an international focus. She has been a researcher, leader and educator for over 20 years. Helen recently co-authored, with Jennifer Filla, the book Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook. So yes, she wrote the book on fundraising research. I see Helen as a thought leader and innovator. She writes a regular blog, The Intelligent Edge and is a sought after presenter. I was fortunate to serve with Helen as a board member of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA). She co-authored the curriculum for the APRA New Researchers Symposium and received the Ann Castle Award for service to the prospect research community in 2006. She is also past president of the New England Development Research Association (NEDRA).

To learn more about Helen visit: www.helenbrowngroup.com or connect on Twitter @AskHelenBrown

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

I was doomed from the start! (laughing) My parents were always involved as volunteers at church or in the community when I was growing up, and as soon as I could walk they had me helping, too. My mom strongly encouraged me to donate the earnings from my first popsicle stand to the Red Cross – my first forays in both entrepreneurship and philanthropy!

In school and college I loved the research part of my schoolwork, but didn’t know how I’d be able to translate that into a career. My first (and last!) temp job was working in the development office for my alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill. That first Monday morning the director of research asked if I wanted to help her team with a project, and all the pieces fell into place in that moment for me. Prospect research marries my love of philanthropy with my love of finding and sharing useful information.

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

Hmmm, that’s a great question. I used to think that philanthropy meant “charity” – giving money at the point of need. But true philanthropy, I think, means using resources like money, information, intellect, and collaboration to resolve problems upstream, so that the point of need is eliminated. In the case of a school or university, it’s providing education in a way that doesn’t just meet the needs of society now, but prepares people for lifelong learning and contribution. Philanthropy isn’t just about donating money.

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

Well, since I own a prospect research company with my name on it, that means that every report and every interaction we have with our clients de facto reflects my personal values. Our job is to do our best to help clients achieve their goals and fulfill their mission while serving them with skill and courtesy. We really do take it that seriously. Great prospect research still requires an intelligent, fairly-paid person to research, distill, analyze and communicate – which isn’t cheap – so everything we do has to help clients move exponentially farther forward than they would have without us. Each member of my team has direct contact with our clients, so the fact that we consistently earn high marks for our customer service means that they understand and embrace HBG core values.

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

Two things, really: hearing from a client how our work helped really makes my day. And, surprisingly for me because I wouldn’t have expected this 15 years ago, managing a team and running two successful businesses (I also own a web-based training company called ShareTraining). That gives me a great deal of joy. I’m incredibly lucky to have assembled the team that works with me at HBG – they are smart, funny, collaborative …and just a really nice group of people. Most of my team work virtually, so I’m proud of the fact that we manage to be a cohesive group that work hard, enjoy what we do and like working with each other.

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

I love to travel anywhere new and visit the major sites and the off-the-beaten-path places that locals point us to. We walk and walk and then eat and eat! I enjoy gardening, too, and last year we got a plot in a community garden which opened up a whole new world of vegetable gardening. It’s a lot of fun sharing seeds and tips and stories with other “crazy organic gardeners” as our niece likes to call us. And what kind of researcher would I be if I didn’t say I love to read?

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

I never really had much occasion to mingle with major donors until I became involved with the board of the North American Foundation for the University of Manchester (NAFUM) 12 years ago. Then I watched how grateful these dedicated board members were to be given the opportunity to provide student scholarships and support special projects; how much intense joy it gave them to be able to do this. It inspired me to fund a small project at Manchester dear to my heart, and I can now speak from first-hand experience to counsel fundraisers never to be afraid to ask for a gift that is truly tailored for the donor. If the fundraising staff is on top of their game, the alchemy can be magic for everyone.

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?

Our field is self-taught, and training prospect researchers how to do this work with pride, discernment, diligence and creativity is really important to me. I’d like to know that the writing and training work I do creates a ripple effect that impacts the success of as many organizations as possible.

Fundraising with Joy Interview Series – Paul Nazareth

Paul Nazareth, Philanthropic Advisory Services with Scotia Private Client Group and
Faculty member, Planned Giving, Georgian College Postgraduate Fundraising Program

Paul Nazareth

Paul Nazareth

It is hard to summarize Paul in a paragraph. He describes himself as a “Philanthropic Advisor. Networking Enthusiast. Social Business Evangelist.” His work allows him to empower people to have greater social impact through his career specialty – planned giving. His personal mission is to “promote people with clarity of purpose and passion to help them reach professional and personal potential while enjoying life to the fullest.” Countless fundraisers have benefited from his time and advice. His Twitter handle @UinvitedU summarizes his desire to help people who invite themselves to success – he calls them forth. So there are many facets to Paul, but what I find most inspiring is how he creates space in his life for reflection. Paul has a strong vision for his life and he consciously chooses to say yes to people and experiences that support this. By living a life informed by many mentors and an intentional personal vision, Paul is able to help donors and fundraisers do the same.

Learn more about Paul at http://about.me/paulnazareth

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

Like so many fundraisers, I fell into it. Actually, I was pushed! As a University student I had lost my dream to be a high school English teacher after job shadowing made it clear it wasn’t my path. Like so many Canadians I grew up volunteering and found a skill set in community fundraising. At University I was involved in a number of campaigns, one that involved the phone had me raise as much as all 30 other volunteers combined. In three years I was a volunteer leading that campaign for the whole University with a goal of over $250,000. My staff liason, a fundraiser said “you should do this for a living!” and went on CharityVillage.com right then and we found my first job.

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

Philanthropy is a high-fallutin word for giving. And I enjoy the purity of helping Canadians circulate goodwill, the core of giving. Fundraising on the other hand is my profession and it’s a tough business. For me it’s about skill development, strategy, constant education and networking to be the best. Earlier in my career I let my employer and “associations” be my guide, and they were great but in time they were structures that held me back. My fault, not theirs. A few years ago a new set of mentors, mostly entrepreneurs, set me free and showed me a whole new world of career and personal development possibility. This growth also led me to change gears from traditional fundraising to moving to a for-profit philanthropic program in a bank. Philanthropy now means a whole different thing to me, it is part of a toolkit of solutions in the financial and estate planning process. It’s a whole new ecosystem to discover and I’m having the time of my life.

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

My organization is a Trust Company inside a bank! Not your typical fundraising job, what is beautiful is that the mission of our philanthropic program was elegantly designed by a mentor of mine, another fundraiser turned advisor. That mission was about being motivated by the donor’s pure giving goals. Being cause-neutral is an indulgence few fundraisers beyond the world of Community Foundations get to experience. I get to connect with donors every day around my own values – the love of community, education, spirituality, animals. Every day is an adventure because I get to research and create solutions for philanthropic dreams. Want to empower innovation in immigrant employment? There’s a tiny community centre that does that. Tree planting, science exploration, donkey sanctuaries, sailing around the world. The list goes on and on, there are 88,000 charities in Canada!

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

Taking a donor from a place where they are enthusiastic about giving to charity, to a place where they are inspired by their own vision. Where they distill and then expand what they want to do today and as a legacy for the future. Then to make that a reality, and with the access of a financial institution the people who I help have the financial capacity to change the world. There are days that when I leave a meeting where we discussed a plan that is in the millions of dollars, to change the world in a grassroots and humble way, my hands are shake with adrenaline – my heart pounds with the realization of what we just did.

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

One of the reasons I said yes to leaving what was already my dream job in fundraising (for my faith community) was because this employer already knew about my professional non-work passions. Business networking, skill-building around the science of human connection, exploring the future of social business. Although this job has me spending more time at a desk creating solutions, supporting hundreds of staff and partners, outside the office I get to speak and host my own events to further these passions. Also, because it allows me to be a better fundraiser (we learn better from teaching), I teach a course on fundraising (planned giving being my career specialty) online on weekends and I’ve reached a career goal to teach with my favourite professional association, the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. Doing all this expression off the job, gives me energy to get back to work and focus on highly technical planning and the need to shut-up and be quiet to deeply and actively listen to clients and partners. Lastly, I have a new baby, a 5 year old, a dog, cat and wonderful wife – managing my schedule aggressively (yaay Blackberry!) means I spend more time with them now than ever. They are my reason for being, a joy beyond expectation.

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

I have experienced this through my donors and clients, helping them to volunteer smarter ( aligning with their strengths instead of just saying yes to whatever comes their way ) and give more strategically through planned giving ( happiness comes from giving more by planning, but having more for loved ones because of tax benefits ). As for MY work and life? Janice, it was the exact opposite for a long time. Let’s be honest, fundraising is a hard profession because there is very little encouragement of management training, strategy at work, boards expect too much from fundraisers and many leaders are dysfunctional. The turnover isn’t high because fundraisers are a flighty bunch, working 60 hours a week for a salary equal to Starbucks after years of experience is disheartening. Mid-career I gave myself permission to take a leadership role in a charity, running a homeless food program from my Church. It was a selfish act, I don’t like when people pretend voluntourism is magnanimous – it’s not, it’s a selfish act of personal discovery and growth, be honest about it. Cooking with my hands, learning from an army of talented grandmothers, teaching hundreds of youth about poverty and feeding thousands each year was so satisfying and healing for my work burnout. Later on, I participated for a year in a dynamic program called Timeraiser (http://paulnazareth.blogspot.ca/2011/03/timeraiser-what-year.html) and had another amazing non-fundraising volunteer experience.

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?

I am not someone motivated by high-minded ideals, I’m an operationally focused kind of guy. I want to leave a career legacy of better operations in fundraising, to raise the bar on strategy and management excellence. To have helped peers to find the right fit in jobs and organizations (which is why I’m well known as a connector and informal recruiter via Linkedin ) to create better fundraising teams. I have negative legacy goals too! I want to help bad leaders find better jobs outside charities, I want to end the tyranny of golf-tournaments and gala dinners in fundraising and I want to like the famous Dan Pallotta create a new value system and evaluation system of what “charity” is and how it works. As a professional I network ruthlessly, daily, to create and army of the passionate and together, before we die, we will make change for fundraisers and to fundraising. We will change it for the better. I even created a personal award to recognize the best in my network who help me achieve these goals.

http://paulnazareth.blogspot.ca/2013/01/golden-crab-award-pauls-mvps-of.html