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Chapter Leadership Brief 7.30.2021

By Craig Shelley, CFRE, AFP-NYC Treasurer 
Managing Director, Orr Group

Does anyone ever listen to the Hamilton song, “Non-Stop” and think he could very easily be describing the life of a fundraiser? The need for our work is always there, we often do what we do at the hours most convenient to our donors and least convenient to our families and social lives, we’re perennially working on under resourced teams, and every new fiscal year the clock goes back to $0 and the goals get larger. Non-Stop has been the only pace I think I’ve ever experienced in my 20+ years fundraising, leading, and advising nonprofit organizations.

While I haven’t exactly stopped, I have had the opportunity to slow down a bit over this past month. I crammed a bunch of vacation time into a single month for the first time ever. I took advantage of the ability to “work from anywhere” and packed up the family for sandier pastures. I’ve hung out with my kids. Talked to my wife about things rather than reviewed our to do lists. Rode my bike a ton (my current preferred way to move my body and clear my mind). Read multiple books. Listened to waves crashing. Got sunburned lounging in a pool. Probably drank a few too many beers. I needed it and I’m going to be a better fundraiser and leader because of it.

Our profession uniquely requires an “all in” approach while simultaneously requiring us to be full and interesting people. We can only be either of those things if we take time for ourselves, advice I’ve ignored all too often over my career. Take a long weekend. Take a week. Take an afternoon. Take some time for yourself right now. You need it and you’ve earned it. I’m not sure what the Fall holds for us as people or fundraisers. I do know the organizations and missions we work for will need funding that we’ll have to raise. I know we’ll raise more of it if we take our feet off the gas for a minute now.

Recharge. The world is going to need you at full battery.

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