Agent Jen here. This is a guest post from an anonymous fundraiser working in the trenches during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sending love and light to fundraisers everywhere… XO
I’ve been reflecting on the last three weeks and the stories I have heard from fellow fundraisers. And this is what came out, about the reality of fundraising right now. It’s pretty raw and unfiltered.
Long intense days, back to back meetings, huge decisions made in 30 minutes, three day deadlines for three week projects, strategies and plans beautifully crafted obsolete overnight, campaigns ready to go now irrelevant, entire event schedules cancelled. Millions lost. Colleagues sick, trying to work and look after babies, children, elderly parents, partners. The familiar rhythm of life is disrupted. syncopated. Crying kids in the background of zoom calls, home offices cobbled together in tiny kitchens, eyes and heads painful from endless video calls. A whole part of your charity shut down. Retail colleagues sent home. The support they provided in their community, lost, for now. But never more appreciated. Those incidental chats in the office that transform your day and spark ideas, gone. Those face to face workshops where you hammer through a problem, gone. Passions high, pressure building, tempers flaring, intentions good but energy waning. All the rules that you didn’t know you relied on are gone. All the best practice that you’re told works, doesn’t apply. There is no blueprint. The familiar becomes fuzzy. All the gaps and weakness you knew you had, and thought you had time to fix, are amplified. The petty becomes both meaningless and intensely felt. The well meaning blogs and webinars aren’t inspiring anymore, they’re another stick to flog yourself with. Another reminder that you’re not doing this as well as you should be. Every supporter quote or piece of feedback a reminder of the responsibility you have to do this right, to live up to their trust and their expectations, their hope. Every story from the front line, a reminder of what will be lost if you fail. All the while you’re scared. For your loved ones and yourself. For yourself. For your community, your country and heartbroken for the millions who were already suffering before this dreaded virus appeared.
If you can wake up and work and get something done in a day, well done. If you’re writing an appeal and you know it’s not perfect. That’s okay. If you have to have a cry half way through the day, do it. This isn’t easy. It’s pretty dreadful all in all. But we’re doing it. Raising funds. Helping people. Giving hope. Getting through it, the best we can.