Don’t Whine Out Loud

Laura and I just returned from fabulous vacations in Italy where we travelled with our respective 12-year-old daughters.  (Laura’s husband Fabian teaches Italian, and every few years gets a great gig instructing for the “Arizona in Italy” – Orvieto Study Abroad Program in collaboration with the University of Arizona.)  This was the perfect opportunity for some mother-daughter bonding, international cultural experiences and, of course, hard-core gelato tasting.

All in all, traveling with our daughters was AWESOME.  They were excited, curious and eager to try new things.  However, our daughters are still TWEENS and prone to occasional complaining.  Their whines were like the proverbial needle scratch on the record album, interrupting the beauty and wonder around us.  That’s when we overheard this great directive from a British dad to his son: “Don’t whine out loud.”

“Don’t Whine Out Loud” quickly became our theme song, set to the Melissa Manchester’s classic hit, “Don’t Cry Out Loud.”

Whining out loud ruins it for everyone, we told them.   It becomes nearly impossible to fully enjoy all that is around you if one person is whining and complaining.

Sound familiar?

How often do we find ourselves whining about how hard our work is?  How unsupportive our boss or board is?  How underpaid or under-resourced we are?  Worse yet, how often does our whining leak through to our donor interactions and communications?

We all know our jobs are tough.  There is tremendous pressure on fund development professionals today.  But does whining really make the problems go away?

So, take it from two road-weary mamas:  “Don’t whine out loud!”  Instead, follow these simple tips for getting yourself solution-focused and upbeat!

1.     Be Honest: Tell your boss, your board or your co-workers what you really need them to know about what isn’t going well in the organization, present  real solutions, and offer to help.  Ask for what you need.

2.     Connect with Mission:  Remind yourself why you do this work.  Go see the programs in action.

3.     Find an Outlet for Your Stress:  Go to yoga.  Take a walk.  Better yet, invite your co-workers to join you.

4.     Join us for Fundraiser’s Forum:  Bring your lunch and your troubles.  We’ll listen, provide support, and brainstorm solutions together. Third Monday of every month at our offices.  Email to RSVP.

5.     Select a positive theme song to blast in your car before going to work, or over lunch, or on your headphones.  Our suggestions:

Laura’s pick:  “Brave” by Sara Bareilles.
Jenny’s favorite: “Believer” by American Authors.
Our office music diva Hanna suggests “A Much Better View of the Moon” by Kingston Trio.
Or, if you’re a Broadway fan, how about “Don’t Rain on My Parade” by Barbra Streisand?


Jenny Carrillo, MA, CFRE
Principal Consultant