Guest Post: Damian O’Broin from Ask Direct – Why do you do what you do?

Damian O’Broin works with Ask Direct. He is the second guest blogger this week:


Why do you do what you do?

It was never supposed to be this way. By my 37th birthday I should’ve been nicely settled in some professorship position having already bagged that Nobel prize for physics.

And failing that, surely I’d be sitting in my Dalkey mansion, counting my gold discs and leafing through the scrapbooks of critical acclaim from rock jouros the world over.

But no, here I am trying to keep a small business going with one hand, while trying to change the world by raising piles of money for progressive causes with the other. Hmmm. So why do I do what I do?

To explain. I run a fundraising and marketing agency for non-profits. I have no marketing qualifications. But I have read one of Seth Godin’s books. Ireland has no recognised fundraising qualifications. Although I do have nearly 15 years experience in non-profit communications, which I suppose counts for something.

The short answer, if it doesn’t sound too twee, is that I want to change the world. There’s a million things that make me angry, upset, outraged. And a million more that I know we could do better, quicker, fairer.

And I enjoy my job. On several levels.

I’m honoured to be able to use what talent I have to help organisations I believe in – groups like the Irish Hospice Foundation, Women’s Aid, Friends of the Earth and Barretstown – to raise more money and win new supporters. And conversely, that means I don’t have to sell my soul to The Man.

I love the challenge of constantly trying to produce work that’s better than what we’ve done before.

And I love the thrill of running my own business. Building and creating an enterprise that will – hopefully – grow and develop and provide for my family for years to come.

So it’s not a vocation. It’s a job, a career. Not that different to any other trade or profession. And there are times when I think I’d get lots of satisfaction from carpentry or organic farming – if I wasn’t such a city-boy who can’t cut a mortise joint to save his life.

So why do you do what you do?

Do you do what you want to do?


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3 Responses to “Guest Post: Damian O’Broin from Ask Direct – Why do you do what you do?”

  1. Parnell says:

    Jeeesssaaass we have our very own Irish energizing inspirational spirit, Damian O’Broin. People like Damian make it all, (living), worthwhile. Hope the cash cow or wind fall lands on his favour – the Dalkey Mansion waits. Gold Disc’s maybe not but whichever way the wind blows for, Damian, lets hope it’s a good wind.

  2. an ‘energizing inspirational spirit’ !? Never been called that before!

    Thanks for the good wishes Parnell.

  3. darragh says:

    “. I have no marketing qualifications. But I have read one of Seth Godin’s books.”

    Quite possibly, from my own experience in the field and online, far more helpful than any qualification you can get!

    Well done Damian. Though I’m sure your job poses its frustrations and its challenges at times, it’s the people like you who do try to “change the world” in whatever way you can that inspire people like me to aspire to do the same.