2:07 p.m. - April 11, 2006
Itís a good thing, I think, but still I have some trepidation about it.
It started Friday with an email I received from an Advancement Services colleague who works for a consulting firm. Iíve talked to him at conferences for a few years, and heís sat in on some presentations Iíve given (and been very nice to me).
Now, Iíve only been at this gig since August of 2000. Before that, I was in the real world, and doing things very much not related to fundraising, however I was acquiring a lot of the job skills needed to do my job.
I just had to apply those skills to the fundraising realm, and also learn all of the fun and exciting gift counting rules and IRS regulations.
Iím a quick learner, and I also am a voracious learner. So after a while, and after a few conferences, I became well versed in the ins and outs of my profession.
We have a list serve, and I became one of the prominent answer-guys on that list serve.
At conferences, I was asked to speak a few times, and got reasonably good reviews. Mind you, I have a little bit of energy, so my presentation style may be a bit different than some people are used to, however, thatís OK, I suppose. Love me, or hate me, I know my stuff.
I also work for my alma mater, in my hometown, and as you read yesterday, life is going pretty well for us here.
I think Iím in the perfect position for me and my family, right now.
So the email was an invitation by this consultant colleague to join him for dinner during our conference in Baltimore next week:
ďAs a leader in our industry, we would enjoy learning about your insights on systems and processes for fundraising. We have also invited a few other colleagues so space for this dinner is limited.Ē
Well, I didnít think much of it during the weekend, knowing that Iíd reply on Monday when I got back in the office.
So, I replied on Monday after I checked my schedule, and got a nice email confirmation for my RSVP.
Then in the afternoon, the wheels in my head went round-and-round, round-and-round, round-and-round, all through the town. (And no one to say, ďMove along please!Ē)
First, I thought they were trying to sell me something. Sure, theyíre consultants, and I like the person who invited me. But I know right now we donít have any funds for consultants, and I know Iíd have to have approvals from two levels above me plus the new President. So I can fend off any sales pitch, really.
Second, I took it at face value. Heck, itís not the most scintillating of dinner topics, but it is interesting for those of us in the industry. Itís also quite important to make sure you have a good system and a good process. Iíve actually done some presentations on that kind of stuff.
But, I wondered if that was really what it was all about. So my mind, it got to spinning.
What if they talk to me about this AND make it into a sales pitch for me to join them.
Asking if I would be interested, at some point, to join the dark side and become a consultant.
I thought of that, and thought of that some more.
If thatís what this is, do I want to do that?
I donít know if Iíd have to move. A consultants life is itinerant. Would I be based in Minneapolis or Chicago? And would I have to move, or could I stay here and go to the office periodically?
Then thereís the travel, which is constant. Iíd ensconce myself in various locations for various amounts of time. And depending on the territory and the client non-profits, the visits could be day trips or week long (or longer) encampments.
Katie and Kristin are at a precious age. Katie is just starting soccer, loves her dance class and her pre-school, and has said she may want to do tap next year.
Kristin is 10 months old, and thatís an age where you WANT to be home. Itís killing me to go to Baltimore for a whole week. I fear I may miss something. She pulled up for the first time when I was on the road in DC last month.
The money is another thing Ė itís potentially lucrative, but I donít know how much income would be guaranteed, and how much based on my clients. One thing Iíve never had is any pay based on commission. Iíve had performance bonuses, sure, but my base was always my base.
Weíre in a very economical situation right now. Our house is affordable, our transportation costs fairly negligible, and except for the cost of natural gas itís a pretty great cost of living here in BFE.
But itís also a good career step. In my profession, itís not easy to move up to be a VP or Dean of Advancement without changing over to do some actual fundraising work, and I donít know if I have the personality to do that.
Itís not unheard of, but our profession is relatively young in the development world. So a lot of old hands move to consulting work as a way to expand their horizons, both professionally and monetarily.
All of these thoughts were colluding inside my head. Fortunately, I thought, there was a baseball game I had to cover, and that would take my mind off of it.
It didnít Ė the game was long as the pitchers had control issues, and the waiting somehow increased the mental turmoil in my noggin.
I went home to write my story, and then ate dinner, then talked to a friend on the computer. Still, the wheels were turning.
Liz got a call from Snow White, and I used that as an excuse to take a break and go driving. Of course, it turned into a grocery run (muffins were needed for the MOPS brunch) so that gave me something to do. It also gave me a chance to talk to a friend on a serious, unrelated matter.
But with all that, I still had a feeling of unease. I spoke to Liz about it, and she agreed with me that thereís a lot to consider, but it may not be anything like what youíre thinking at this dinner. So she said I should go, relax and deal with whatever they say at the time.
Because it may not be an offer to consider becoming a consultant, instead, it may be exactly what they say it is.
However, I still have the willies a little, and I have the willies NOW, am I ready for it?