Oh, the infamous “other duties as assigned.” That little phase at the end of your job description that seems so innocent and benign in your interview that you barely notice it. It’s just the bullet point that they “have” to include - it’s no big deal, you tell yourself.
In nonprofit fundraising, “other duties as assigned,” or ODAA, might as well be the first line of your job description. It means, not only do you have to do your primary responsibilities all the time, at any point you may also have to do a variety of tasks from catering, to being a chauffeur, an unofficial therapist for your team, or flower arranging - and these aren’t even the strangest ones we’ve seen.
ODAA tasks may seem mundane, but I believe they are the core elements of what makes nonprofit fundraising professionals special. I would argue that if you are not willing to drop your work and get these tasks done, you are probably in the wrong field.
No, I take that back. You are definitely in the wrong field.
I believe “that’s not my job” are words that should never be uttered on a development team. We must be a team and back eachother up, and we must be donor-centered/customer-centered at all times. Donors and our missions are at the top, while we are the worker bees who work to connect these two groups. A selfless approach to our work is truly needed to achieve success in this field. It is not about our accomplishments, how much we raise, or how fantastic an event we produce. What matters is that we are helping our organizations to accomplish their missions and ensuring the donors are engaged, stewarded, and connected to the great work their donations enable.
We are the stewards, not the stars.
This field chooses us, folks. We are the givers, the providers, the stewards. It does not mean that we cannot enjoy our work or interact in the philanthropic world with our donors, but it does mean that we should always have a sense of humility and grace in all that we do.
So, don’t sweat the ODAA. Embrace them. Learn from them. Use them as a time to remember why we do what we do. Help your team members with whatever task it is that needs to be done, just do it. Remember that a selfless approach to our work will reap rewards tenfold in the end. Do whatever it takes to make it work, help your team, and show what it is to be a good steward.