One of those internet memes asks us, “Instead of ‘I don’t have time’ say ‘This is not a priority’ and see how that feels.
In my life of late, this feeling of “I can’t do that right now” has not felt wonderful. I’ve never been the sort to brag about my level of busy, though I sure have had a full plate since a seismic life change in 2007 and the years that have followed. That’s coming up on twelve years of pedal to the metal busy. And I’ve always loved being busy.
But now, more than ever, too much so. Starting a family, in a grand adventure as a new (old) Dad to two beautiful babies being the biggest change in my life, of course. But also the growing professional obligations with amazing clients that keep me traveling weekly, friendships to maintain, and a healthy marriage to steward. It is a whole bunch of bounty. More than I could possibly deserve. And I am grateful for all of it.
When I can’t take time for coffee or lunch with dear friends to catch up, no matter how far in advance we plan, it is time to adjust some priorities. This will be my last Artful Fundraiser post for now. After 100 little essays over five years, time to take a year or so off of the blog.
I began this project five years ago with no specific agenda beyond finding my own consistent voice as a writer and thinker, and to fill the evening hours of hotel time in other ways beyond a 9th viewing of “The Wire”.
I would encourage my fundraising friends to do the same in whatever forum makes sense. When we ghost write in other’s voices (one of our main duties as fundraisers) it is interesting to find our own voice as professionals. And we get better at writing by writing, writing, and writing some more.
Whenever I meet someone who says, “Hey, I read that thing you wrote!” I am always surprised and a little embarrassed. It didn’t occur to me that folks were out there reading and sharing my stuff, but you have been, year after year, and I thank you.
Looking back over the 100 posts, I stick by most of what I’ve said and thought, especially a call for lunchtime salads during personal solicitations. And I am 100% sure that you shouldn’t be messing around with Facebook’s giving portal. I wish I had gone a little easier on my alma mater, but they seem to be doing okay. Those we care for the most can hurt us the easiest, and I love Indiana University with all my heart.
It is a good time for a hiatus. In philanthropy, and in society, we need more space for new voices and perspectives. The biggest life lesson I can point to from seeing the world in 2018 is that it is time for men, including me, to listen more without commentary, to give space and oxygen to other voices. And so, I will take the next year or so to watch and to listen, to encourage where I can, and grow as an advocate and an ally.
For reading, for your friendship, and for the good work you do to make our world a better, and more civil place, thank you. American philanthropy, for all of its imperfections, is the best system the world has for connecting people to causes, for helping others, for building generational legacy. Your work matters more than ever.
Keep in touch, let’s do schedule that coffee or lunch, and happy fundraising in 2019, and beyond.