I’m Feeling Optimistic
Chapter Leadership Brief 6.4.2021
By Craig Shelley, CFRE, Chapter Treasurer & Managing Director, Orr Group
I have this weird feeling I have not had in a long time. I think it is optimism. We seem to (finally? maybe?) have the pandemic under control as at least in the US vaccine rates rise and infection and death rates drop. Things are reopening. I have been able to spend time with colleagues, friends, and clients I have not seen in 15+ months. Despite all our worst predictions’ philanthropy has rallied in the past year. I gathered with this community at PhilanthroCon and was able to feel the energy of and learn from my peers. I am looking forward beyond tomorrow and I like what I see for our world and for our profession.
Of course, this is tempered with a heavy sadness. The unimaginable loss of life. The psychological weight we are all carrying and which we will all deal with, especially our children, for years to come. The anxiety as we do things and go places for the first time. The weird guilt when we long for the simplicity many of us benefited from in our personal lives during COVID. The very real fact that in many corners of our interconnected world the virus still rages.
But despite all that, it is a time for optimism. It is a time for us to contemplate how we can keep attention and momentum on issues of equity. A time to consider how we can keep those donors who found us in crisis well into the future. A time to recognize that in June of 2022 we very likely will be able to return to an in-person Fundraising Day in New York (you heard it here first!).
That said, let us be mindful not to get swept up with the optimism and return to the way things were. Personally, let us remember how much we valued our time with our loved ones and prioritize that anew. In the face of so much loss let us be sure we value and appreciate life differently. Professionally, let us not just go back to doing the same galas and events but remember how donors responded to what was really important to them and to us.
I’m not sure there’s a point to this musing (if you’ve followed these Leadership briefs through the years you might say there never is). But I am feeling good. I am looking forward. I hope you are too.