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Rad dad Patrick Kirby is enjoying life’s lessons in fundraising and parenting

His infectious positivity and great sense of humor guide him in many different situations

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Patrick Kirby is the founder of Do Good Better Consulting and a father to three kids.
Special to On the Minds of Moms
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“Enthusiastic!”

That’s the one word Patrick Kirby – dedicated dad, husband and founder of Do Good Better consulting – used to describe himself. And no one who has been around Patrick for even a few minutes is surprised by that word choice.

In fact, that one word explains a lot. It not only takes a lot of enthusiasm to be a professional fundraiser, it also takes a lot of enthusiasm to do it well and turn it into a viable business on top of being a speaker, coach, podcaster, dad and husband. Lots of enthusiasm!

From organizing $10,000 cure walks to $1 million galas, Patrick has a passion for using his creativity to make fundraising exciting, which is why he made it his full-time gig.

“I sought to create a business that helps the ‘accidental fundraiser’,” he said. “You know, the person who gets a job at a nonprofit for marketing or for their programming and services, but ends up having to fundraise with zero experience and now unreasonable expectations to find money.”

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While terrified to quit his job and dive headfirst into solo fundraising consulting, he also found it exhilarating and, with the support of his family, successful.

“My wife, Shannon, challenges me on decisions, supports me when the going gets tough, and knows this whole adventure is right in my wheelhouse. I can’t get a better foundation of support than that,” he said.

The couple has three children — Spencer, Preston and Willow — whom Patrick hopes will learn how to carve their own path in life from watching dad.

“Whether they start their own business or use their creativity for a side hustle someday, perhaps they can look back on this adventure in entrepreneurship as a framework for themselves,” he said.

Here’s more about Patrick and life as a dad, husband and entrepreneur.

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This photo perfectly encapsulates life in the Kirby household, which includes dad Patrick, mom Shannon, and kids Spencer, Preston and Willow.
Photo courtesy of M.Schleif Photography

What are your proudest dad moments? 

As a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, I’m most proud of the lessons I can give my children in regard to sticking with cheering for this abomination of a team. My wife and I have a mixed marriage—she is a loyal Green Bay Packers fan—and I have had the best time letting our kids know that cheering for Minnesota sports teams is an exercise in learning about life, such as:

  1. How to get used to disappointment.
  2. How to deal with expectations that are too high.
  3. How to cope with loss and tragedy.
  4. How to prepare for inevitable failure.
  5. How to laugh instead of cry.

Those are the types of lessons our kids can give their kids someday unless they become Packer fans, of course.
What does family fun time look like for you guys? 

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If I gave an answer that didn’t include playing video games, my family would call me out as a liar. Because family Mario Party is the best kind of party. However, when we’re not hunched over a table doing odd crafts or playing board games, we do a ton of baking and cooking together.

What do your kiddos think of what dad does for a living?

One of my kids was asked by his teacher what their parents do for a living, and they gave the best answer: “My dad made up his own job, and now he does that for a living.”

That made me laugh and was pretty insightful too!

What’s your favorite dad joke? 

My favorite dad joke was told to me by my oldest kiddo: “Why don’t you see elephants in trees? Because they are really good at hiding!”

I’m not sure I’ve laughed so hard at something so stupid in a long time.

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Patrick Kirby is frequently a speaker or emcee at local Fargo-Moorhead events, bringing his exuberance and enthusiasm to various audiences.
Special to On the Minds of Moms

Are there any parallels between parenting and fundraising? 

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Good Lord, they are identical. You need to have patience, be enthusiastic about menial tasks for long-term positive results, and have a great sense of humor about things that otherwise would make you weep with frustration. There’s also an incredible sense of finding joy in the small things, or little wins that keep the crazy day-to-day grind at bay.

Tell us about your first Do Good Better event.

I hosted an Elevator Pitch Training as my first event, and there were a dozen people who showed up, including folks I didn’t even know! My slide deck was hideous. I had to beg folks to come and was flying by the seat of my pants, but I did it!

That’s when I realized the only way I was going to be able to position myself as the expert in fundraising training and consulting was to do fundraising training and consulting.

What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?

The “ah-ha” moment clients have when something makes sense for the first time, when they realize they can accomplish a fundraising goal, or when they get that first big gift they cultivated on their own. That’s the entrepreneurial drug that keeps me stoked to go to work every day.

Melissa Davidson is a mom to three girls and writer for Click Content Studios, a marketing and video production agency. In addition to writing, she’s passionate about health and wellness, wishes she could get through all the non-fiction books out there, and thrives on learning new things, like the cello!
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