Fundraising: A Noble Profession

Fundraising: A Noble Profession

March 23, 2011 by jga_admin

by Meg Gammage- Tucker

Fundraising is now recognized by many as a “noble profession.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu recognized it in his plenary session at last year’s AFP International Conference, we were reminded by Paulette Maehara, retiring President and CEO of AFP International (of 13 years). And, Queen Latifah renewed the topic at Monday’s plenary presentation in Chicago: fundraising is a “noble” profession.

I have to admit, when I hear these accolades for the fundraising profession, I am pleasantly reminded of how far we have come.

When I was growing up—people who asked for money were considered odd or—at times—offensive. Even when I became a member of AFP (when it was NSFRE in 1991), we were often called “professional beggars” or “nonprofit salesmen.”

Not so in 2011. Fundraising as the promotion of philanthropy (or voluntary support for the public good) is now considered a noble calling…

Queen Latifah put philanthropy and her commitment to giving so well in today’s session: “in the giving, there is no ego….doing good becomes infectious”.

And then she complimented those in the room and the thousands of others who do this good work for a living: “you are changing lives….and you do what needs to be done—just do it with honor…”you are part of a noble profession—but with it comes the responsibility to build trust and great moral and ethical responsibility…”

People who raise funds and support for nonprofits are not compensated at a high level financially. Rather, they are compensated by helping the organizations and causes that they are passionate about. And, while a good living is always appreciated—in this writer’s opinion, it is better compensation than ultimately is achieved financially.

It is a joy to listen to someone like Queen Latifah who honors those in her life—family and friends—by giving back….by “being blessed and wanting to bless others.”

It reminds us all of why we are here and what impact we can have through the wonderful work that is philanthropy. We are truly doing good work.

We must remember—and honor those who help us to be successful like Queen Latifah and Archbishop Tutu—we must do it to the best of our ability. Millions of lives, people, and causes are depending on us—let’s keep doing it well and maintain the highest ethical and moral standards possible…