Praise for the Professional Director of Development

Sections of this topic

    Appreciation for the Professional Director of Development

    For a very long time, I wanted to write something which championed the cause of overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated staff development professionals. But while I was still working as a member of that glorious “clan,” I felt that I was not in the best position to make the case for my many (often) under-appreciated colleagues.

    Being retired, I can now better voice my opinions than I could while still working as a DOD – when perhaps I might have been seen as self-aggrandizing.

    For my colleagues, still at it today, however, I wanted to bring to the surface some of the feelings I know they must keep to themselves.

    I am reminded of the many times I was sitting in the back seat of a box in our Cleveland Orchestra concert hall with my donor/prospect guests nicely ensconced up front in the choice seats. (They were, earlier that evening, our guests at a festive reception and an excellent dinner.)

    On stage, the finest Orchestra in the world was playing the best in classical music … “just for them,” and they were looking forward to meeting the conductor and other Orchestra notables at a party following the concert. I knew they were greatly satisfied. It was the perfect setting for building donor loyalty and setting the stage for even bigger future gifts.

    All of which would have me serenely survey the scene in front of me, then lean back in my chair, and say to myself, “I made all of this happen! I’m really, really good at this job! They’re lucky to have me!” (No one knew I felt that way until now!)

    Hopefully, you feel that way too !!

    No matter what (type of) organization you work for, you should be (privately) patting yourself on the back when you have those magic moments – when you see the good things that happen because of your hard work and dedication.

    Maybe it’s when you see an otherwise severely physically challenged youngster find new vitality and strength as she/he is put astride a horse at your Therapeutic Riding Center; see the smiles from the hungry as they are fed in your hunger center; as you breathe the clean air your organization is making possible for all in your community; when you are saving and preserving a wildlife refuge; while attending another graduation class ceremony at your school or college; helping to reclaim and repair the life of a rape victim.

    In short, whatever the mission of your organization, you should/must have those secret, personal, and justifiably proud moments regarding whatever your organization is able to do … because of what you do !!

    Think of it. You are helping to enhance/enrich the quality of life for scores of people or animals, and you are generally helping to make life more fulfilling for broad segments of our society.

    Remember, the work you do behind the scenes makes it possible for others to be in the spotlight … as your organization makes positive differences in the quality of life. You will find that your acceptance of who rightfully gets the public rewards and recognition for success will more than ever be personally and professionally satisfying to you.

    And you should feel good about what you do — very good — but keep it to yourself, and savor every moment of it. You are really, really good at your job. “They” are indeed lucky to have you.


    If you have a question or comment for Tony, he can be reached at There is also a lot of good fundraising information on his website:


    If you’re reading this online and you would like to comment/expand on the above, or would just like to offer your thoughts on the subject of this posting, we encourage you to “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page, click on the feedback link at the top of the page, or send an email to the author of this posting. If you’ve received this posting as an email, click on the email link (above) to communicate with the author.