8 years ago, I walked out of my fundraising office for the last time.
I clutched my grant folders, my bike helmet, and my dignity, and opened the door, with tears in my eyes.
It was hard.
Even though I had wanted to leave for a long time, when it actually came time to leave, it was hard.
For a long time, I tried to find a new fundraising job. I upped sticks and rolled down to Austin Texas to try to find a job down there. And wrote my first book (see below)
But despite writing a fundraising book, I couldn’t find a job.
I tried to fit myself into a mold that said I just wanted to serve one cause again.
But… I couldn’t really convince myself I wanted another fundraising job, and I think people could tell.
I had been betrayed too many times. Over and over again I had given my hours, my loyalty and my health to nonprofits that didn’t care about me.
I used to think that no boss was good. I used to think that I couldn’t trust anyone.
I never could have imagined that after my fundraising job, I would be here.
What changed? How did I get here?
Well, my beliefs have changed.
I got lucky. But I knew I had to partner, and not go it alone.
I have a thriving business. That is LARGELY due to people wanting to partner with me.
Do I work harder than I ever worked at a fundraising job?
Do I get to take a bikeride whenever I want to?
Do I get to travel more for work?
Yes! This year for example I will be going to Cuba, Colorado, Florida, and San Francisco to speak.
Is work more like play now?
Is my income less stable than before?
Yep. I never know how much I’m going to make from month to month.
It reminds me of this line from Ransom Riggs,
I never thought I would do this, but I actually teach people how to have a thriving fundraising consulting business-at the Fundraising Career Conference.
I didn’t set out to create this, but I’ve started to create a thriving community of fundraising friends.
Now I have fundraising friends I get to talk with and hang out with on a regular basis! And if we’re not talking friend stuff, we’re propping each other up, and helping each other out.
I also get to hang out with and talk with my family and friends a lot more too.
Here are some of us. There’s a lot of us!
Most of all, I get to help people change lives, every day.
It’s pretty fun!
If you’re thinking of leaving your fundraising job and starting to consult, here’s some advice.
I don’t coach people in how to become nonprofit consultants. Why? Just not what I’m choosing to focus on. But if you are someone who does this, please leave a comment, with your website or more about how you help people, so people can find you.