Career portraits and interviews collected from the frontlines of fundraising.
"Understand that your schedule and the schedule of your donors may never be aligned, and focus on creating positive, long-lasting, philanthropic relationships." - Kosta Alexis
Senior Director of Development, Tufts University School of Engineering
I spent many years in the fixed income world but never felt that work would keep me content during my life. It was only after I moved on to political fundraising, a year of service with AmeriCorps, and assisting with local organizations that I realized I could combine skills that made me successful in the for-profit world with my desire to create real, positive change in a meaningful way. And it has helped me achieve what is an incredibly fulfilling part of my life.
I’m not sure if I have been unknowingly adhering to a personal philosophy or have just been lucky. I find myself surrounded by family and friends these days, which is wonderful. I enjoy my work. I have been able to travel to and live in places I never thought possible and achieve a variety of personal and professional successes. This is all linked to thinking about what makes one happy and knowing that finding happiness may not be that easy. However, it is well worth the journey.
Another long journey has led to the recent close of an eight-figure gift at Tufts University, where I am a Senior Director of Development. This had been years in the making. There were starts and stops, negotiations that were not productive, prolonged periods of donor silence, and other issues. But now we can celebrate. Our donor is excited about the legacy this gift will have, the impact on future generations of students, as well as the opportunity to inspire others to consider the same. It is a triumph for our donor and a triumph for Tufts.
The issues that arise in the fundraising world can certainly lead to frustration. But prolonged frustration is counterproductive, so vent and then move forward. Understand that your schedule and the schedule of your donors may never be aligned, and focus on creating positive, long-lasting, philanthropic relationships. In fundraising, we are all beneficiaries of the good work done by predecessors. So, keep that cycle going.