It’s time to celebrate…you!

In this season of celebration, as the year-end fast approaches, we at Masterworks take this moment to pause and celebrate…you.

 We celebrate you, your life, your accomplishments and, especially, the difference you’re making as a professional fundraiser.

The best of times, the worst of times

 When we sign up to be a fundraiser, we don’t sign up for an easy life. That’s for sure. I’m reminded of that famous Charles Dickens’ quote: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Believe me, we understand that fundraising is a tough gig.

Still, we can’t forget that we signed up to be change agents and difference makers. Our work is hugely challenging, and sometimes rewarding.

Now, “hugely challenging, and sometimes rewarding” may not sound so encouraging. Sure, when it comes to fundraising, there’s more opportunity than ever before. Yet, it’s tougher than ever to lead people to action. Best of times, worst of times.

According to recent research, half of chief fundraisers plan to leave their jobs within two years or less. And, 2 out of 5 of you are thinking about leaving fundraising entirely.

Probably no other job is more of a “revolving door” than development director. At many non-profits, the position has been open for months — or even years.

But today, we celebrate you and the difference you’re making. We affirm that you play a central role in impacting God’s Kingdom.

We’re eager to come alongside you

 We understand that non-profits that succeed in fundraising differ from those that struggle in a number of important ways. One of these important ways, according to researchers at Stanford University’s Social Innovation Center, is that high-impact non-profits are really adept at leveraging outside advisers, like Masterworks, to help them achieve their larger goals.

So, especially during this season of generosity, we count it a privilege not only to be your trusted advisors and part of your team, we also take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to bringing you our best efforts and best thinking every day. We want to help you achieve your larger goals by inspiring your supporters’ generosity and connecting them to your organization’s mission and core values.

(We just learned that our efforts on your behalf have resulted in 4 out of 5 Masterworks clients experiencing growing revenue, year over year. This is a number that far exceeds the national trends. We’re justifiably proud of this result. But we are redoubling our efforts to do even better next year.)

Because we understand what you face every day — because we feel your pain — we’ll be making special efforts this coming year to help you experience even greater success.

Four ways we can help you succeed in 2016

  1. We’ll expand our training and educational offerings to help you deepen your fundraising talent and knowledge. If you don’t actively grow your fundraising knowledge, you’ll become “underqualified” in no time. That’s because the marketplace is changing faster than ever.
  2. We’ll grow our donor engagement offerings to deepen your supporters’ passion for your cause and their relationship to your brand to create faster, better and more sustainable revenue. We’ll present new strategies, approaches and mechanisms for giving as well as keep you up-to-date on the fundraising innovation and next-generation donor motivation and best practices.
  3. We’ll share our progress on rapid prototyping of a new fundraising model. We’re partnering with a new client right now to scale up the new model, and look forward to reporting our comprehensive results. The results are already very promising.
  4. We’ll work with you to put fundraising front-and-center in your organization. Turns out that the key difference between non-profits that are highly successful at fundraising and those that are struggling or failing is something referred to as “institutional embrace.” Top-performing non-profits have elevated fundraising from being a relatively isolated function to being key to the overall mission. When you feel more valued as a fundraiser, you and your team will perform better and find greater professional satisfaction.

Finally, I put out a message recently to our team at Masterworks, asking for other ideas for celebrating you. These two caught my attention:

  1. Nominate the job of professional fundraiser for the reality television show America’s Toughest Job.
  2. Petition the President of the United States to declare an official national holiday in honor of professional fundraisers.

As you live, breathe, sleep and dream of fundraising in 2016, may you experience the great joy that working in our profession brings. May you feel not only proud, but privileged to serve the Kings of Kings in what you do.

If you have questions about how Masterworks can help your ministry, email me at