fundraising takes guts

I was reminded yesterday that fundraising, marketing and leading nonprofits requires extraordinary courage. It seemed like in every conversation, every email and every meeting there was a moment when a courageous choice had to be made.

A good grip on analytics is helpful. A good understanding of marketing principles makes a difference. Strong people skills make things better. Loving the work of your organization is crucial.

But today I’m here to remind you that this work you’re doing takes courage.
Or as the great Winston Churchill said it: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

  • It takes courage to go see that Major Donor who hasn’t given recently.
  • It takes courage to call that long-time donor who is upset about your new program.
  • It takes courage to decide to lead your Board in what you know is right.
  • It takes courage to not mail your entire mailing list for every appeal.
  • It takes courage to not cover up a mistake you’ve made…and fix it.
  • It takes courage to focus on your donors not your budget.
  • It takes courage to ignore the critics who’ve never done your job but know exactly what you should do.
  • It takes courage to honestly and candidly evaluate your past results.
  • I could go on and on, but for now, let me say to you: I admire you for the work you’re doing.

    There are people reading this post who feel like they’re in the fight of their career (and they are). You know you need to take your organization to the next level, but everything is working against you. Some of you are clocking tons of hours and no one but your family is noticing. Some of you are deciding that the “old ways” won’t be the rule any more.

    And that takes guts.

    Thank you for your courage.

    The orphans you are saving are grateful for your courage. The homeless mother is grateful for your courage. The formerly incarcerated man is grateful for your courage. The child drinking clean water is thankful for your courage. Those whose lives you are changing through your organization’s work are thankful. And your donors are thankful, even if they don’t always say it.

    Bless you as you reach into that deep part of you and faithfully to do your job.

    So tell me about your day. Do you find that courage makes a difference? How do you find the guts to fight the fight? It’s an honor sharing the journey with you.


    Steve Thomas
    Partner, Oneicity

    (photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

    Steve Thomas

    Steve Thomas

    8 thoughts on “fundraising takes guts”

    1. @Susana–Thanks for coming by. We appreciate anyone who “gets” the community-thing. Good for you! I jumped over to your blog and love what you’re doing. Keep up the great work.


    2. COURAGE |ˈkərij; ˈkə-rij| noun
      *the ability to do something that frightens one : she called on all her courage to face the ordeal.
      *strength in the face of pain or grief : he fought his illness with great courage.

      In my opinion courage is essential in the non-profit arena, without it you will not be as effective as you could be because you make decisions based on what is “safe” not on creativity or innovation. Courage also goes nicely with passion, the more passionate about a cause you are, the less you consider your own comfort and the more you will risk for it.

    3. @Jen–Love the connection of courage with passion. I hadn’t thought of that. And I’m mindful that courage wouldn’t be a big deal if there weren’t risk or pain…

      Thanks for chipping in, you are courage!

    4. I really like what Jen said – passion is what drives you everyday but also for us at CityTeam, it’s God that guides you and holds your hand through the tough times. Trust in God. For us – it’s a call from God to do this kind of work.

    5. Bethany, you made MY week. Sometimes when I’m writing I wonder if these things make a difference, I feel passionately about what I write but one wonders. I’m honored to have helped you in a noble cause.

      Many thanks.

      Plus, now you’re eligible to win this week’s
      8 in 8 book
      ! WooHoo.

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