As a fund developer, I am obsessed with numbers. On a daily basis, my eyes are locked on spreadsheets, dashboards, charts measuring Year to Date performance and a dozen other indicators. All this information is used to inform the decisions we make. Believe it or not, there is a science and an art to asking for money. We look at your capacity to give. We measure what pieces of solicitation elicit a response. We track your passion through gifts to similar organizations. We track if you are a new, continuing or lapsed donor. We take notes based on every conversation about what moves you to give.
In four years at Kent Youth and Family Services, this work when joined with our public relations, social media and volunteer efforts has translated into 870 donors stepping forward to donate $606,517.79. While I am proud of those numbers, they don’t tell a full story. $606,517.79 means 870 donors have impacted the lives of 348 youth and families in South King County. This, above all else, is the number I care about. To break it down even further:
870 donors have provided; 216 youth and young adults a safe place to learn and play in our After School Program, 108 youth and families evidence based, results driven assistance through our Mental & Behavioral Health Counseling Program, 13 spots for eager minds to learn in our Head Start & ECEAP program, and 11 homeless moms and their kids a roof overhead and quality services through our Watson Manor Transitional Living Program.
This is why I do this work. I do this work with the ever present reality that most of my peers make much more money than me. I live in Seattle. I could easily be at Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing or a thousand other places where employees are better compensated. I could be at a place where I am not constantly consumed with making it to the next pay period. While, I don’t fault those who work at these places, the sense of satisfaction I get from doing nonprofit work is without comparison. There is no other work for me.
As I move forward in my career, I am forced to look back at both my time in higher education and the nonprofit sectors. Another number stands out in my mind, 7,947. Every year, I create an annual report for myself with the hopes of answering a fundamental question; “How many lives have you impacted?” After parsing all the data, 7,947 is the number the fills me with the most pride. Not the zeros in my paycheck, 7,947. As I watch this number grow, I will continue to measure the impact. For me, it is how I will get to the point of calling this a life well lived.
Thanks for entering my world,