Opinion

For what it’s worth

A friend and colleague recently suggested that my readers might be interested in hearing more from me. Of course I laughed, because no one has ever said they wanted to hear MORE from me!

But, I entertain the idea that I might be wrong on this front and have added regular column writing to my short list of 2022 New Year’s Resolutions – along with training my chickens to swing. So, please hold me accountable on the writing, not the chickens.

In November I had the great honor of being awarded the Ben Franklin Outstanding Fundraising Executive award from the Fort Worth Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. I took the opportunity at their National Philanthropy Day luncheon and awards presentation to share some of my opinions on the sector, philanthropy and the fundraising profession with several hundred of my colleagues. I’ve adapted that speech here for you, in the event you might find something among it insightful.

Good riddance to 2021

To all of our sector’s frontline unicorn staff who, while I was comfortably working from home for most of the year, bravely went to work to feed, house and care for the most vulnerable among us.  THANK YOU!  To all the administrative and development staff who worked so hard to keep staff safe, investors informed and their organizations afloat.  THANK YOU!  To all the board members who supported and advised. THANK YOU!  To all the donors who kept their wallets open and to those that opened them wider.  THANK YOU! 

The success of any community should not be measured by how many buildings it has, or roads, or money. Rather, the success of a community should be measured by how well it takes care of its most vulnerable.  And I must say that I am proud of our sector for the role we played in 2021 in making DFW better.

Our community has experienced a collective trauma. Many of us have colleagues, family or friends forever affected by the virus or its wake, or the Great Winter of 2021. And, this is a trauma that we experienced together and from which we need to heal together!

Please let 2022 be better!

If I am reading the proverbial tea leaves correctly, our sector is not yet out of the woods. Increasing service demand, labor shortages, supply chain limitations, price increases and more will hit us hardest. 

But I believe that a reimagined philanthropy can help us continue to help others – better. Out of crisis comes innovation, and I am sitting on the edge of my DFW501c.com seat watching with anticipation to see how you will do it!  Throw away the rules, customs and culture to create one that is more effective, equitable and inclusive.

What’s important?

The morning of the awards luncheon (yes, please call me last-minute-Lucy!), I texted another friend and colleague with a frantic “What the hell am I supposed to say today?” She told me to simply share what I thought was important.

So my DFW501c friends, here are a few things I think are important:

  • Do what is right by the donor without valuing the monetary contribution more than the impact to your mission.
  • If a donation is not fully values-aligned, it will most likely hurt or limit your work rather than help it.
  • Sometimes saying no is the right thing.
  • Be true to yourself – authenticity gets you further and means more in this work. 
  • You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is a place for you.
  • Don’t compromise yourself, your values or worth for this work.
  • Perfect your craft.
  • Don’t be afraid of No.
  • Have an opinion.
  • The service client is sacred.
  • Question everything.
  • Only sell what you can be most passionate about. (I can hear a few people screaming about the structure of this sentence!!!)
  • Invest in people.
  • Never underestimate the power of positive disruption! 
  • For my white colleagues, start your journey to become anti-racist and challenge your assumptions. You have the power to change everything.
  • To my colleagues of color, You are SEEN, you are VALUED and your contributions MATTER!

I’m excited to meet back here at this same time next year to see what you all have accomplished! Go get ’em!

For what it’s worth,

Barbara Clark-Galupi, CFRM

Publisher, DFW501c.com

About the author

Barbara Clark Galupi