Day in the Life of a Fundraiser –

Hafeezah Abdullah

Day in the Life of a Fundraiser features the workday routine of awesome fundraisers and is inspired by Kivi Leroux Miller’s and Kristina Leroux’s series for nonprofit communicators over on the Nonprofit Marketing Guide. 

Hafeezahs Bio:

Hafeezah Abdullah is the Chief Donor Relations Officer for SumOfUs, where she directs donor engagement and institutional advancement for a global consumer advocacy group of 18 million people. She is a fundraiser, event producer, and strategist with more than a decade of experience advising nonprofits and political campaigns. Previously, she has worked with the Democratic National Committee, Sunlight Foundation, Breakthrough Institute, and many others. Hafeezah is a graduate of the University of Maryland-College Park, Justice Democrats Fellow, and Board Vice-Chair for Good Energy Collective. 

before 8 am – I work for a digital campaigning organization that operates in six global regions, so I check my email and Slack the night before since colleagues are in so many timezones. Then in the morning, I go for a run (yay health) and listen to a daily news podcast so I know what’s happening in the world. 

8 am to 10 am – Luckily I work from home, so I don’t have a commute and can ease into my workday. I usually spend half of my day having internal and external meetings. So, the first thing I do is check my calendar and set alarms for all my engagements so that I’m on time and prepped for each one. And then send emails to either follow up with a donor and/or partner on a previous discussion.

10 am to 12 pm – Meetings are usually the name of the game during this time frame. Because SumOfUs challenges corporate power on a range of issues like fighting for workers’ rights to demanding big tech accountability, I spend a good portion of time reading about various issues or prepping for virtual meetings. Sometimes this means presenting our work to external partners and other times it means meeting with program officers. 

12 pm – 2 pm – I am a late lunch eater and also like to be productive while eating lunch, so I usually will make something in my air fryer while listening to the news or podcasts. Or, and this is not the healthiest of approaches, I have another cup of coffee and power through more virtual meetings. 

2 pm – 4 pm – As the only person who focuses 100% of their time on this work at my organization, being organized is key to me ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. So, the latter part of my day shifts to the more glamorous parts of my job, like conducting donor research and updating Salesforce or other tracking systems for grants. 

After 4 pm – My creative juices usually flow later in the day, so I spend this time writing, deep thinking, and prepping for tomorrow. A large part of my job is cultivating relationships with foundations and other decision-makers, and that requires a lot of writing such as concept notes, meeting briefings, proposals, revisions to proposals based on donor feedback. Around 6pm, I often have a virtual happy hour or catch up session with a former coworker or other people that work in the progressive space.