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It's fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine.

By Sarah Sims

How many times have we said that to ourselves or to those around us this past year? How many times have we had to gloss over what feels like daily distresses in order to simply persevere and move through this unprecedented time?

You need me to pack up my office right now and work from home starting today? Ok. It’s fine.

You mean we won’t be home for a week, or a month, but perhaps a full year? Sure. Everything is fine. Perfectly ok.

My children go on spring break in March 2020 and haven’t gone back to school since – they will do something called digital academy online and literally be home 24 hours of the day now? Uhhhh. Sure. I’m fine. We can handle that.

No in-person special events, all new virtual programs, converting donor reports to digital delivery, Zoom engagement, and little to no access to donor beneficiaries? You got it. Everything is FINE. Innovation is my middle name.

We tell ourselves this day in and day out as a means of coping, because we know full well that everything is NOT fine. (I even bought the shirt to wear on the days that I need an extra reminder.) The world has been upheaved and our industry and our work has had to pivot, redesign, and rebuild itself several times over in a matter of months.

The truth is, it’s ok that not everything is fine. As one who is uncomfortable with lack of clarity, unclear roadmaps, and more challenges than solutions, that’s been a hard lesson for me this year. But out of that has grown innovation on behalf of my team that I am incredibly proud of, more empathetic leadership on my behalf, and pretty stout belief that humor and grace will get you through just about any challenge. (Even when your home, office, and children’s’ school are all under one roof.)

So, I laugh and say “It’s fine.” Sometimes I mean it, sometimes it’s just cathartic. But keep in mind, donor relations professionals are built for this kind of challenge. This is our time to shine! We innately think with both sides of the brain and can devise solutions that are both creative and effective. We can look at the bigger picture and evaluate what matters and what doesn’t. We’ve always had to work on shoe string budgets with limited resources, so we are used to innovating and making lemonade from lemons. Having always been attuned to our donors’ needs, we understand what will and won’t work in this new space. We have influence and a seat at the table as our organizations move towards donor engagement and retention in lieu of sole focus on solicitation. This is it – its game time for us!

So, however it is that you cope with the daily highs and lows or your daily mantra you mutter to yourself, just know that it truly IS fine and that everyone is in this together. You’ve got this! You’re fine. We’re all fine.


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