The Tortured Marketer’s Department

Apr 24, 2024

I don’t cook much. I just don’t really enjoy doing it. And, frankly, I’m not that good at it. Luckily, I married a great cook! But there are a few things that I do make around the house:  lasagna, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy. For whatever reason, the hubs never makes those things. And most of the time, I can manage those few simple dishes—except for the first pancake…that’s always a failure! Why are they always so ugly!?

Ugly Pancake Contest — Beyond The Kitchen Sink

So, I had a chuckle today when I made biscuits and gravy for dinner. We are a love-breakfast-for-dinner-kind-of-family. But it had been a hot minute since I’ve made B’s and G’s, or anything really, because of one super simple mistake.

I can’t be the only one who mistook flour for powdered sugar, can I? True, I should have labeled those two matching (and adorable) containers when I Pinterested my pantry. It’s all in the details, right? Well, ‘complete pantry labels’ was on a to-do list somewhere that never got to-done.

The next thing I know my sweet husband was tasting the most dessert-like biscuits and gravy known to man. It wasn’t until his first bite that I even knew I had made a mistake. Were there other clues? Of course! Any descent cook would have noticed them. But I’m not a descent cook. I’m from the Tortured Chef’s Department. My skills aren’t practiced. My heart’s not in it. I don’t enjoy it. But we gotta eat, so it’s perfunctory. Thus, how the switcheroo between flour and powdered sugar happened in the first place. That one mistake got me kicked out of kitchen cooking duty for a few months. I’m not even mad about it. But it did remind me of the adage about the chicken and eggs breakfast. Have you heard of it?

Martina Navratilova Quote: “The difference between involvement and ...

They say, "The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed." You know I love a good metaphor! The chicken is sacrificing its eggs; the pig is sacrificing himself. Involvement; commitment.

The Tortured Marketer’s Department functions in much the same way. First of all, how many of you reading this actually have a full Marketing Department? Yeah, I know how it works with many nonprofits…you are the Department. You do marketing and other duties as assigned. It wouldn’t have mattered if you read the fine print on your job description or not. Nonprofit work calls for all-hands-on-deck most of the time. So, when people ask what you do, you answer, ‘whatever it takes’ and you’re not wrong’…you’re just tired.

 The ebbs and flows of a nonprofit marketer have as many highs and lows as any given Taylor Swift era. Budget, time, donor loyalty, pandemics, competition, the crisis du jour and a litany of other variables—some you can control and some you cannot—all make your job somewhat of a roller coaster ride.

Taylor Swift Eras Glossy Poster | Etsy

Let me fill you in on the details so you can enjoy the ride a little bit more.

Marketing is like a roller coaster.
Do you like theme parks?
If so, you are in luck.
If not, you are still in luck because this is only a simple comparison.

Why a Roller Coaster?
Because the work we do is thrilling!

It’s kind of like that click-click-clicking that you hear as you approach the top of the first hill.  That’s how it feels as your donations approach an amount that can be difference-making to a student scholar or a charitable organization.

Then, there’s the big WHOOSH when you fly down the hill with your hands raised in the air, screaming with joy (or terror), with the adrenaline flowing.

Yeah, that’s what it’s like after you raise the money through generous donors and then give it back to worthy charitable causes.

And you have season passes, of course.
Really, you do.
You invite donors to join you throughout the year, rain or shine.
It’s exciting to see who will enjoy the adventure with you.

You want all your donors to see how charitable giving can give them that same roller coaster exhilaration. Why? Because they are helping someone in your community who really needs it. And that gives you a good feeling inside, and you know it will give them that dopamine hit, too.

And that’s what nonprofit marketers do. You work with super generous people and give back to super worthy recipients. And just like riding roller coasters, it’s always fun no matter how many times you do it.

Roller Coaster Love GIF by Fleischer Studios

But none of the above truly applies if you’re only involved; you must be committed. Committed to the mission. Committed to the donors. Committed to the recipients. 

Those that choose to only be involved, phone it in, simply go through the motions…those are the true tortured marketers. If your skills aren’t practiced, if your heart’s not in it, if you don’t enjoy it, but you do it because you gotta get something out the door, it's perfunctory--no one deserves that kind of involvement...not you, not your non-profit, not your donors! This is why nonprofit work isn’t for the faint of heart. People in your community are depending on you to help lift them up. It’s vital, but not easy. That’s why they need you. And they deserve someone who is committed, not just involved.

Baby Pigs Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave
Perhaps if you are feeling like a tortured marketer, it might not be a sign of job dissatisfaction.
Maybe you’ve just been involved in your work and not truly committed—and you can change that.

Life is short. Do work you love. That doesn’t mean you’ll love everything you do 100% of the time—even I have to cook B’s and G’s occasionally. But you should love what you’re doing because of the people you’re doing it for. If you don’t, not only will you know, but your donors will know, too. They’re perceptive like that. No one wants to open mail from the Tortured Marketer’s Department--not even you.

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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