In February of 2020, after three wonderful years, I furled my sails with the Egan Maritime Institute on Nantucket to begin a new chapter of my nonprofit professional life off the island. Reflecting on my time with Egan, I fostered terrific growth for the organization’s annual unrestricted operating funds (the membership program doubled along with Annual Fund donors and donations), and a greater growth within my own personal set of skills: learning the ropes of video production.
Sharing the compelling stories of a cultural organization’s mission, in my experience, is the biggest key to increasing donor participation across the board, and as a fundraiser with small-shop Museums who often lack funds for expensive video projects, learning to shoot, edit, and share videos specifically created to capture new prospects attention and inspire current supporters with the impact of their donations is vital.
The below videos are organized from the last video I shot and produced at Egan to the very first. I adore this order. I can really see my own growth in skills and vision, and am proud of the evolution. With few exceptions, the footage was captured on an iPhone 10X, and edited using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Photoshop.
Here is the quick update: New job as Director of Development here. Like any good endeavor, I’m in deep. But I’m swimming in the deep and loving it. I’ve go much in the works to share with you (how to leave your job and leave it well; package your asks; leverage your social media), but until those words move from napkins and the backside of #9 envelopes to digital form, I’m going to share and promote some good reads from fundraising professional for fundraising professionals.
“Philanthropy means, literally, love of humanity. You don’t have to give a million dollars to charity to be a philanthropist. You simply have to actively demonstrate your love of humanity. Your empathy. If the purpose of our creativity is philanthropy — if it is love for our fellow man, an appreciation that people struggle in their lives, and a desire to somehow lessen that struggle and increase their joy, with a little more leg room or with an iPad — it will change the world. And that is the greatest competitive advantage of all.”
I highly recommend setting aside a professional development hour for LinkedIn content pursuing. Their contributors are the heavy-hitters of business discourse, and I never suffer “readers remorse.” On the contrary, I’m inspired and spend a few minutes after each read jotting down notes and brainstorming.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through.
My sister, Maybeth, fell in love with an abstract nude while gallery perusing. To her dismay, the piece was not destined to hang on her walls as it was betrothed to another. To my delight, she asked me to recreate this painting for her on an 8×10 canvas to join her “small works” collection. The finish piece is above. I adore it, and am still amazed that it came from my own pushing of oil paint. Continue reading Other People’s Work