This experience is a game-changer, and more of this is needed particularly in communities of color. I believe supportive environments like this fellowship program are one of the most effective ways to shift the narrative around power dynamics and race in this country. The fellowship has enriched and equipped my life on both the professional and personal fronts.
These programs don't exist and if we want to have a pipeline of POC fundraisers, this program and opportunity is critical.
I think all fundraisers of color need to experience a space like this.
Agency and Leadership:
- I feel much more empowered to voice my needs and where I believe the organization should be positioned.
- I can say confidently that I better understand my boundaries and what I need in order to show up as my best self in terms of leadership, workload balance, and wellness.
Power Dynamics and Related Challenges
- I speak much more openly about structural issues and how I might feel inhibited by power and privilege issues.
- I heard about a lot of different ways to approach power dynamics that were food for thought; and am more confident dealing with power dynamics internally (advocating for other staff with less positional power at my organization) and less so externally (with donors/funders/Board).
Navigating Micro and Other Aggressions
- I have come to accept that different people have different thresholds for micro and other aggression. I have learned the difference between toughing it out or stooping to the others' levels and setting healthy boundaries and advocating for myself.
- Since the Program concluded, I have had to address micro-aggressions head on. I would not have expended the energy to address them (no matter how “small”) without the support of the Program.
How The Program Supported Participants’ Professional Development
- This program has facilitated much of my growth as a professional of color. I have gained a sense of strength in hearing the journeys and experiences of others. The program has not only equipped me with tools to assist in the technical aspects of my job including communications and major gift solicitation strategy, but it has also helped me mentally and emotionally gain clarity around challenging interpersonal dynamics.
- The focus on self-care and wellness as a critical aspect of my leadership practice is a direct result of this program. I feel more confidence in prioritizing my wellness and health as a foundational practice of my leadership because of this program.
How The Program Supported Participants’ Personal Development
- I no longer suffer from imposter syndrome. I truly believe I am doing what I am meant to do professionally. I also believe I am better at fundraising development than I have given myself credit for in the past.
- I've gained more confidence and am more assertive as a leader. I have witnessed how people respond differently since being more decisive and taking on a more leadership role within the executive leadership team.
How Participants are Applying the Fundraising Skills Learned to Their Work
- I've been able to review content and messaging through a race equity lens, utilize materials from my personal mission/brand, and use the tools provided for engaging donors.
- I've used the personal branding and storytelling techniques to support with pitches and grant writing. I've also been using the materials around donor cultivation to support my fundraising strategy.
How the Program has Impacted Internal Interactions
- I am direct when I see issues of bias in the workplace especially as it relates to fundraising.
- I continue to build a relationship and rapport with my executive director so that she allows me to be the fundraising expert.
Participant Feedback on the Program’s Ability to Build Peer, Community and Network Support
- Building a community of peer professionals has been the best part of this program. Being able to speak with peers who understand what it's like to be fundraising POC is invaluable.
- I feel like there was nearly an immediate connection within our cohort and I am most grateful for the connections formed during this experience. I think having a safe space to share our lived experiences together in many ways validated my own personal narrative as a professional of color.
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