My earliest philanthropic experience was “helping” my mother canvass our neighbourhood for the Canadian Cancer Society when I was about 10 years old. I remember knocking on the door of a loud, rather chaotic family home. It was dinnertime and the woman who answered looked worn. Even as a child, I would have understood if she brushed us off and slammed the door.
But instead, she scraped up all the change she could find and gave us $10 in dimes and quarters. I still remember how eager she was to help any way she could, despite all the mayhem around her.
I think about that moment a lot. At the time though, I never considered growing up to be a fundraiser. That all came to be, albeit unexpectedly, a few years later in 2010. A Nova Scotia girl born and raised, I had just moved to Ottawa and needed a job.
This was about 6 months prior to the 2011 federal election, and Jack Layton’s NDP team was looking for people power. I was hired on as a part-time fundraising caller, but soon found myself a permanent home on the NDP fundraising team.
I had a degree in Public Relations, but it didn’t take long to realize that I could apply some of my PR skills to fundraising – by crafting and creating appealing, intriguing and personalized messages. I loved the authenticity and sincerity in communicating with donors directly. It was much more rewarding – and I was hooked. (Still am!)
Today, I’m the worn-looking mom at the door, tripping over dinkie cars to find cash for whatever cause is needing it. The universe is weird sometimes but I’m grateful I get to play a small part in the good of it.