If you are, um, of a certain age, “Devo” was an 80′s band with flowerpots on their heads. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, rest assured that (as Dave Barry would say) I am not making this up. Just go up to someone over the age of 50, say “We are not men, we are Devo,” and see what they say.
However, this blog has nothing to do with that Devo. In my experience as a fundraiser at a faith-based non-profit, “devo” has two meanings. It can be shorthand for “Development,” as in “I work in the Devo Department.” Paradoxically it can also be short for “Devotions” which (to the uninitiated) is a spiritual gathering that many Christian workplaces schedule regularly (as in “What time is devo?”). The purpose is prayer and mutual encouragement. The term may sound odd, I realize, but it’s something many of those of us working in these organizations take for granted.
I think these two definitions of Devo, “development” and “devotions,” the professional and spiritual, go hand in hand. But I have to admit that sometimes our fundraising profession and our “faith profession” exist in uneasy alliance, and holding them in proper balance can involve a kind of cognitive dissonance. It’s precisely that balance that Devomania exists to address.