Are you new to fundraising? Or maybe you’re a veteran fundraiser seeking to improve your skills?
Wherever you are in your profession, there’s always a need to learn and grow.
Not only does each individual have his own path of learning, but the entire industry is evolving and changing as well. Tending to your own professional development makes sense for improving your own skills, but also for helping your organization become more effective at accomplishing its mission in an ever-changing world.
Sharpen the Saw
Your skills are valuable tools for helping your organization achieve its goals. As with any set of tools, they need to be sharpened periodically so you can get the most out of them. A rusty saw won’t cut much wood, but you’d be amazed at how much wood you can process with a sharp one. How are you honing your skills? What are you mastering? What new areas are you exploring?
We humans are social creatures—we learn from each other. The cool thing is, the more we seek the more we find. What new ideas have you discovered lately? Where did they come from? Where do you find inspiration? Which individuals and organizations do you admire?
One of the most common traits of those who have achieved mastery in any field is hours and hours of practice. Doing something over and over may seem boring, but those at the top of their fields understand that repetition is key. Each time you do something, you learn more, see more and understand more. Each iteration becomes a new adventure. What will you learn this time?
Learn from Others
One of the quickest ways to gain insight is through the stories of others on the journey. Some people give talks, others write books. In all these stories, there are gems of wisdom to mine. Here are a few examples of the types of books that are out there:
- A Higher Bid, by Kathy Kingston
- Shake the Money Tree: How to Produce a Winning Fundraising Event with a Live and Silent Auction, by Richard O’Keef
- The Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits, by Kirsten Bullock, Betsy Baker, Gayle L. Gifford, Pamela Grow, Lori L. Jacobwith, Marc A. Pitman , Sherry Truhlar and Sandy Rees
- Maximizing Your Charity Event’s Bottom Line, by Mike Grigg
- Donor Centered Leadership, by Penelope Burke
- Auction Fundraising Simplified, by Judy L. Anderson
Share Your Insights
Which books and resources have you found most helpful in your work? Which books do you turn to again and again? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.