I’m in my 8th year of consulting. That’s much longer than I’ve stayed at any other job. Not surprising for a fundraiser—we stay, on average, for 16 months, then move on to greener pastures.
Greener pastures is what I’ve been thinking about. While I mainly love what I do, there are days when I find myself yearning after the opportunity to do
something new. There are things I groan at the thought of doing yet again.
This didn’t come out of nowhere. The desire for different lurks at the edges always. It’s what makes us jump into new jobs, relationships, want to travel to unknown places. It can be an exhilarating, life-affirming thing. It all depends on how you handle that desire.
It used to be, that when that urge for newness hit me, I found another job. Sometimes that worked out well, but I can point to jobs I wish I had never left—and ones I certainly wish I had never taken.
Now, because I am convinced that I have the most amazing job in the world, my craving for a new experience moves me into different places. It makes me look at my closest held beliefs about fundraising and challenge them. It makes me rethink what a board should be and how an ED should deal with all those personalities and needs.
Sometimes, after long exploration, I end up back where I started—but now I have a a firmer base for my belief. Sometimes I think, “Ummmm. Maybe this is a better way.” Often, I simply add new things to my toolbox and feel really good that I will be able to share with my clients additional things that will help them increase their fundraising capacity.
Reading widely—not just about fundraising but about culture, demographics, psychology, and more—helps to make me think more broadly about the work I do. Spending time with colleagues, both other consultants and those who work at the kinds of organizations I work with, raises my awareness and gives me perspectives different than my own. I’m fortunate that I do a lot of training and I always feel that I learn as much in these workshops at the other participants. Together we are expanding our knowledge and thinking about new ways of doing things.
So if you are feeling stuck, unstick yourself by reaching outward to the world and see what moves you. It may be that you do need another job; it may be that you simply need to be refreshed. Forcing yourself to look at things in a different way will help you to rethink what you do and see how you might do it better.
Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them to increase fundraising capacity and build stronger boards. Learn more at www.janetlevineconsulting.com. While there, sign up for the free monthly newsletter.