Bad Car-Ma

It was pretty early in the morning.  The freeway was moving at a rapid clip, and I was grateful as I had a long drive before I got from the Westside of LA to Victorville where I was teaching a module on Donor Development for the High Desert Resource Center’s grassroots fundraising academy.  Suddenly, seemingly from out of nowhere, something came bouncing toward my car and before I could really think, whack!  It hit my car, and then I think I rolled over it.  Later inspection would show it to be wood of some sort. I confess that I hate to drive and probably because of that I seem to have bad “car-ma” (sorry—bad but apt pun).  People plow into the back of my stopped at a red-light car; things hit me; and yes, I confess, too often I have missed those cute little posts that are not quite waist high and don’t seem to serve any purpose beyond giving me a siren call to kiss with my car.

So what does all this have to do with fundraising?  OK, so I hate to drive and too often have had negative experiences.  But I live in Los Angeles, car capital of the universe, and my clients are all over the place.  So I grit my teeth, get in my car, and do what I need to do to take care of my business.

Often that means I am uncomfortable.  Frequently, I wish I was doing anything but.  And, surprise!, on occasion, I have even enjoyed being behind the wheel of my car.  Fundraising is a lot like that.  But if you want to get where you need to go, you need to do all those uncomfortable, distasteful things.  And trust me, if you do it often enough, you’ll find yourself feeling as if you were driving down the coast highway in a spiffy convertible, the wind in your hair, the ocean to one side, and you know that life—and fundraising—is really pretty terrific.


Janet Levine is a consultant who works with nonprofit and educational organizations to increase their fundraising capacity. She is also the co-author of Get Ready, Get Set, Get Grants, a comprehensive guide to writing winning proposals. Learn more about Janet at her website, Buy the book at