By: Alex Comfort, CFRE
“I Could Make More Money Doing Something Else”
One of my current clients is a community college that has a wonderful program. I spoke to an “Interim Dean” today and he said the sentence above. In fact, all of the faculty members in his area find that many of their new graduates (Physical therapy) make more in the first year on the job than do the professors.
Many of us fundraising professionals are not paid particularly well, and it is a problem. Penelope Burke is a researcher and writer who many consider one of the finest in our field. Her various works demonstrate how often we are overworked and underpaid. But the professor’s attitude today caught my attention.
I asked him if he stayed with his teaching because it paid him in other ways, and he agreed. He said that nothing is better than producing graduates who stand out because of their training and preparation. He told several stories of people calling him to congratulate him on the quality of the graduates he is turning out.
Quality is an elusive characteristic in American life today. Everyone talks about quality getting better and better, yet often companies actually sacrifice quality to improve their bottom line. Too often the attitude is that “if we just say the right thing, we can do whatever we want and people will not notice”.
As fundraisers we strive for the best quality in our agencies. We work hard so that our donors can invest in quality results – regardless of our mission. We know we will lose our donors if the quality of our programs does not improve everyone’s life.
Yes, we are willing to sacrifice some personal compensation in order to do what we do. Despite the trying days we all have at times, we get to use our lives as tools to promote the common good. What a gift we have!
Whenever you find yourself commenting on pay inequity, please remember the professor I met today. His is a life of service, and he really loves his students. He is following his heart, and he stands as an inspiration to all of us.