If I had a nickel for every time I’ve sat with either an Executive Director or Development Director who said it’s hard for them to raise money because their mission isn’t about helping to cure cancer or feed hungry children, I’d be incredibly wealthy.

The idea that your mission is not compelling enough to attract major gifts is a fallacy that you have created in your mind. And it’s an excuse for not doing the hard work of identifying the donors who already give to you, qualifying them, and creating the structure necessary to cultivate and steward them.

If you do that properly, you will find the donors that LOVE your mission and want to support it.

But my question to you is: Do YOU love your mission? Because if you don’t really believe in it – if you don’t feel that it will make a meaningful difference in the world – how are you going to find the energy to inspire your donors to invest in it?

A few weeks ago, I spoke at a conference for the development teams within the state of Wisconsin’s Technical College System. There are 14 two-year technical schools across that state that offer graduating seniors an alternative to a four-year college.

Now, on the surface, someone from the outside could say, “Wow, a two-year technical college? I bet that is almost impossible to raise major gifts for.”

But then I met Rebecca Boulanger, who is the development director of the Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI. She greeted me at the door when I first arrived. She wanted to make sure I got there early enough so that she could show me the campus.

Here is something I noticed about Becky. As she was taking me around showing me all the different types of occupations this college trains students for, she became more and more animated about the type of education “her” students were getting there. She was beaming with pride about her institution. She greeted everyone by name as we passed people in the hallway, and she pointed out every little nuance that was of interest.

Her love of this small technical college was so prevalent on our tour, I was overcome with emotion thinking about what a gift to this community that young people had this institution to use, at a pretty low cost, to broaden their perspective on the world and learn a craft.

Not once did I hear from Becky how hard it was to raise money for her small technical college. She didn’t complain that “it wasn’t like a big university with wealthy alumni” or anything like that.

She just kept talking about how amazing Fox Valley was for the community of Appleton, Wisconsin. And she knows there is more to do and that there are more ways she could reach out to donors and increase their giving, but one thing is for sure: she LOVES the mission, and it is infectious.

Are you that way with your mission? Do you inspire the donors in your donor file to greater levels of giving through your ability to build authentic relationships? Are you able to find out your donor’s passions and interests as it relates to your mission so that you can offer the donor great programs to invest in?

It really does start with your attitude and your love for your mission. No matter what it is.