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This is the fourth blog post in a series of 6 entitled the Fundraiser Mindset. You can read my posts on Discipline, Strategic and Communication here.


What is passion?The dictionary’s definition of passion is “a strong and barely controllable emotion.”

Passion is a fundraiser’s fuel.   ← Tweet this
My passion for the people in the not-for-profit industry fuels me to build coaching programs that help fundraisers lean into their role as Chief Visionary Officer for their organizations—mastermind programs.

What does passion look like?

Passion is the counterbalance to low salariesPassion is what helps us overcome obstacles. Passion is the counterbalance to the (relatively) low salaries in not-for-profit. How many times have I heard “You’re in not-for-profit? Your work must be so rewarding.”

Well, yes, sometimes it’s rewarding…

Passion can also be misdirected or misallocated. I coach lots of fundraisers who join an organization because of their passion for the mission, and then get “caught up in the weeds” and lose their focus and discipline. They lose their way PRECISELY because they are working from their place of passion.

We may THINK we are helping—being a not-for-profit martyr, working extra-long hours, caring about EVERYTHING that comes across our desk – but I am not convinced.


It happens when people are too close to something. Passion colours your objectivity.

The passion opportunity

Passion may be part of your toolkitThink of passion as an opportunity. It’s a tool that can help you connect with your cause:

  • Spending a night at a youth shelter to gain some first person stories
  • Sitting down with your board members to ask “why do you volunteer with us?”
  • Talking with your team about what kind of work they are passionate about.

Passion may be part of your toolkit, but it does not stop you from being a professional fundraiser, one who thinks strategically about how to allocate resources and spend his or her time.

Why should you care about passion?

A fundraiser who is not passionate is an empty soul. An empty soul struggles to connect in meaningful ways with donors, staff, volunteers.

No connection, no engagement, no donations.   ← Tweet this
We need passion in order to connect with people. But we also need objectivity, focus, discipline and strategic thinking! These things CAN co-exist alongside each other. I know so because I have coached many clients to walk comfortably in these two worlds.

Your Turn – ready, set, go!

Allocate time this week to share your passion with someone at your organization. Choose your favorite board member, programming person or donor. Make sure YOU go first—share how your passion for the organization fuels you, and your work. Then ask them the same thing.

Liked this post? Check out the other posts in this series—Discipline, Strategic and Communication. Don’t miss out on any of this six post series about Fundraising Mindset—scroll down this page to sign up for my e-newsletter to get posts delivered to your inbox.