When I worked for a Diocesan Office for Catholic Schools, I would sometimes stop for a cup of coffee at a local Barista called the Coffee Bean Roasters en route from a day at the office to the class I taught as an Adjunct Professor at a local university.  One day, rather than just going through the drive-through, I went inside since I had a little more time before class began.  What I found took me by surprise.  There were four people sitting at individual tables typing on their laptops.  I thought they were doing some blogging, surfing the Internet, or catching up on work in a different environment, but all of them were monitoring stock performance, and engaging in online trading.

The Internet has brought the ability to buy and sell stock that was once restricted to stock brokers to the personal computer, and now, to the mobile device.  These four individuals were watching their stocks climb so that they could sell it for a small profit, then reinvest it in a stock they believe had “bottomed out” and would begin climbing in value.  But that’s not always the case.

This activity reminded me of the difference between fundraisers and advancement professionals.  Advancement professionals cultivate relationships.  They’re in it for the long-term, and invest time, talent and treasure so that their relationships can also invest time, talent and treasure in the organization they represent.

Stock traders aren’t investors.  They’re interested in short-term gains, not long-term investments.  Yet, that seems to be what most organizations that aren’t actively involved with advancement expect from advancement professionals.  Actually, they’re looking for fundraising professionals, when most fundraising professionals are really “fund raising” professionals.  Note the importance of the “space” between the two words.  Fundraising provides short-term gains, and that’s what most administrators and board want and expect.  Fund raising, on the other hand, covers the gamut of fund raising activities, including those long-term activities such as annual appeals, grantwriting, planned giving and major gifts.  Even the professional credentials CFRE stands for Certified Fund Raising Executive.  It’s not a CFE.

Fundraisers are events; they’re not people.

As we move forward, let’s realize the importance of that space between the two words when we’re talking about funding our schools, especially if we want them to last for the long-term.