Practice Your Way to Major Gift Success

Blogger, Nicolas Cole, states, “To succeed, you have to love practicing more than you love any goal or reward.”

Hmmm.

Could this be true for major gift fundraising, that you have to love practicing more than you love closing, more than hearing that joyful “yes” to your artful solicitation?

You’re goal-oriented.  You have to raise x dollars by y date and to do that you have to close z major gifts.  People are counting on you.  The love of the close is paramount.

Maybe not.

Don’t you have to be GREAT at strategic conversations?

Don’t you have to TERRIFIC at listening to understand?  Don’t you have to EXCELLENT at storytelling, sharing impact, creating meaningful and productive engagement opportunities?  Don’t you have to write the smartest, most strategic and tailored donor plans?

Major gift fundraising is a craft.  The best way to get good at a craft is to do it, to practice.

You’ve probably met them.  Those folks who don’t believe they have anything new to learn.  “This has always worked for me.”  They attend conferences to network only, enjoy the lunch.  The consultant’s advice rolls off of them, leaving them untouched and unmoved.  As their supervisor, you can’t get them to try a new idea, or burnish a deficient skill.

Being good at anything means you have to practice, continually acquire knowledge, learn from you mistakes and experiences.

So, maybe Mr. Cole is correct.  You have to care about practicing more than the end goal or the reward for true major gift success.  You can practice your way to inspired, joyful generous “yeses.”