Updated: Apr 27
I knew it was time to leave the nonprofit where I had worked for 4 years. It was not because I did not have passion for the mission or love for my piece of saving the world. It was just time.
What makes it the “time” to leave is different for each person. For me, it was running so fast, for so long, that my feet grew tired. I lost perspective and little things seemed way too big. My managers were very focused on what they were focused on - and the burnout I was experiencing just was not one of them. I lost the JOY.
My Joy returned when I stepped into my car to drive away for the last time. I felt it in my entire body; it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
That euphoria hung out for a while and was fueled by the calls I got from other nonprofits asking me to interview for positions---some bigger and higher-paying than the one I had left.
The panic set in when I realized on every call that taking another similar job would just be lead to a new cycle … creating the same tired feet.
What did I want to do? What made my heart sing? What am I very best at? And almost as important---Who could I work with that would bring out the very best in me?
There were a lot of thoughts swirling in my head…And then it hit me. My biggest frustration throughout my career has been the lack of training. Managers hire people they “like” or individuals they view as capable of doing the job. Sometimes they are coachable and grow into being successful - most often they crash and burn and leave.
Was joining or creating a company that trained fundraisers “my calling”? Here are some questions I asked myself - and that you can ask if you are thinking of joining the millions who have left their jobs.
1. What brings me JOY? What were the happiest days of each job you had in your past?
2. What do I think I am very best at?
3. What has frustrated me in my career that I think I can change?
4. What characteristics in a manager, partner, boss, or co-worker make me better?
5. What makes me frustrated, burned out and generally sad?
6. Where do I work best - In an office-at home, at a shared workspace, at Starbucks?
7. What makes a job simply unacceptable?
8. Where will my enthusiasm and engagement be celebrated rather than tolerated?
AND, If you are thinking about taking the leap into your own business…
9. Do I have the guts and grit to give up the security of a weekly paycheck?
10. Do I have the patience for the cycle of business to go from drip drip to a flood?
Finding my purpose, my JOY, my mission.
OK, I asked myself the above questions and in a quiet walk decided on the answers.
Joy for me comes from working with individuals who are respectful, listen to all opinions, and celebrate each other's opinions. All to formulate the best plan.
I am the very best at training, coaching, corporate fundraising, and implementing creative corporate partnerships
I want to change how individuals are trained in the world of Fund Development
I want to own my success, and work with a team that has the same vision partnered with different and complementary strengths.
I like the options of where I do my work - before Covid, I was a big fan of Starbucks!
Disrespect and lack of appreciation make me sad. Having done New Business Development throughout my career I am the first to say that every step of the process deserves at least a bit of acknowledgment (not always a party; a smile works just fine).
I hit budgets; I can be the best manager you ever had. I always say yes, I can help and take on new challenges with a smile and I am a New Business machine. And, I will support leadership 100%.
With that said-
I can be loud. I can be hyper. I can break into what I call the new business dance if we secure a new donor. I drink a lot of coffee, show up early for meetings. I am task oriented and write detailed emails (I guess blogs too). I sometimes work on my own timeclock.
I want to work with and for the ones who appreciate and celebrate the first list and learn to live with the rest (and maybe even learn the dance steps) …It is who I am and part of what has been making me successful throughout a long career.
OK - I know the trip I want to take. I am sure I am brave enough and hopefully I will learn to be more patient…BUT. Who has the skills, shared goals and pep in their step to join me?
I called Amy Mauser with enough energy to power a small town — Amy, let’s do it!
Her expertise is unquestionable and her list of things she is best at do not mirror mine - so together we are so much stronger!!!
Not to mention we had worked together at a nonprofit in 2010-2012 so she was aware of the loud, coffee drinking, dancing maniac I can be. And, yes, she learned the steps! She provides balance for my enthusiasm and always knows the right questions to ask of me, and our clients. We have become partners in success and are so happy to take on the world together.
Then, through a fluke of fate (and LinkedIn), we met Ben Chambers. With expertise in grants (and more), he was the perfect addition to our team. Plus, the things that bring him joy are so very well matched with Amy and me.
So I turned in my two weeks notice, 52 weeks ago this week. I do miss some of my coworkers and still look back to celebrate the little bit of the world I got to change.
We’re turning prospects into clients and creating strategies and tactics to support them as they change the world through a variety of missions. I’ve found two people who share my vision, work ethic, and passion for helping nonprofit fundraisers find success.
I am so glad I jumped and I hope I get to know you through our nonprofit consulting collaborative- Team Kat & Mouse