Young Fundraisers: It’s perfectly normal to feel all the feelings in our jobs

This past Summer I returned from vacation bliss and checked my email. Among the several I had, one was from a donor requesting assistance with his mother’s legacy on her tombstone. I also received an email containing a wedding photo from a different newlywed donor who had been excited to share it with me.


As a 27-year-old I have yet to experience either the sorrow or joy of either of these donors. Switching my emotional response from one to the other in the span of 20 minutes isn’t an easy task. I cared about these donors and felt they would know whether I was being genuine.


This business of fundraising is incredibly personal. We deal with death, we deal with new beginnings, and we deal with being invited into the authentic lives and experiences of others. Often, we are witnesses to their lives and, if we are lucky enough, get to participate in their lives through showing them the possibilities that exist within our organization.


Aside from the lives of our donors, we as professionals immerse ourselves as deeply as possible in the programming of our organization in order to speak the common language. For some of us, we see children with hungry bellies, we see the horrifying realities of cancer, drug addiction, bullying, and we see barriers to success being tossed around like tinsel on a Christmas tree. For others, we see ourselves managing expectations of our managers, taking on roles that may be beyond our job description, and balancing limited organizational resources.


At times, being in this can feel all-consuming. As young skilled (and trained) fundraisers, relationship builders, match-makers, facilitators or whatever you want to call us, this career path is emotional through and through. As we are setting plans for our own personal lives, navigating the competitive and rather unclear job market, and constantly proving our competencies we can begin to feel lost quickly.

Every day we think about the impact our charities make in the world. Let’s begin to speak more of the impact our profession is making on our lives, emotions and interactions. 

AFP’s goal is to create a strong and connected nonprofit sector in the Golden Horseshoe with platforms to share experiences and expertise, discuss and solve problems, and celebrate successes as a community. We do this in many ways for all age groups. New in 2018 comes a form of support specifically for those young professionals 35 years of age and under. Follow us for upcoming news on events which will tackle issues relating specifically to young fundraisers and grow your network of professionals your age!

I look forward to connecting with the many talented young professionals in our region and hearing your stories, successes and challenges within our ever-evolving profession.

Jen Langdon

Board Member, Young Professionals in Philanthropy 


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