An Introvert’s Hangover: 3 Takeaways from the Gateway Conference for Philanthropy

After attending a truly amazing event and meeting some incredible people last week, I happened upon an article about a previously unrecognized condition that I believe I have: the Introvert’s Hangover. Its symptoms are similar to what one might expect the day after consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol. It primarily affects introverts and is caused by spending time with many, many, many people.


There were over 260 fundraisers at the conference last week. It’d be one thing if everyone kept to themselves but imagine what it’s like for an introvert to be surrounded by 260+ of the most kind, giving, social and friendly people? Well, despite “the hangover”, it is actually pretty amazing. Everyone was open and introduced themselves and interacted with me. It was pretty effortless to start up a conversation and I felt welcomed into any group.


I am new to fundraising. I am working on my Masters in Nonprofit Management at Washington University in St. Louis and I work for an organization that serves nonprofits, so I am just beginning to apply my book knowledge to real world practice. Yesterday in my break out sessions I learned a great deal about what fundraising is all about. In my conversations around the lunch table and in the halls between sessions I learned more about the who of fundraising.


I had three big takeaways about who fundraisers are:

  1. They live their organization both on and off the clock. They are passionate about their organization and mission. They represent the best of themselves and their organizations whether they are talking to a donor or picking up dinner at the grocery store.
  2. They embody the meaning of philanthropy which is a love of people. Their careers are ones of giving and often come from an internal drive to give.
  3. They want to make the world a better place by improving lives one at a time. They recognize that the point of philanthropy and fundraising is to directly serve and improve the lives of the recipients.


So while the Introverts’ Hangovers are more typically described as fatigue, a mild buzzing in the head and perhaps a slight headache, for me it is more about the amazing positive energy still flowing through me, the thoughts of the many connections I made that I need to follow up with, the memories of the many inspiring moments and my looking forward to the next event. Equality Partner
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