armsopentosun 2014-Mar19
I believe that one of the greatest things about being a fundraiser is that by its very nature, it’s a “YES” profession. What I mean by that is, as fundraisers, our job is to say “yes” and get others to say “yes” as much as possible.
Think about it. Your whole job is to get others – colleagues, bosses, administration, program people, vendors, support staff – all to say “yes” to donors. And that “yes” is so you can have your donor say “yes.”
Do you have the greatest job in the world or what?
What makes a great fundraiser, whether you’re an MGO, a Development Director, a consultant, or someone working in direct-response, is your ability to approach “No” people and get them to say, “Yes.” I’m not talking about manipulation. I’m talking about inspiring others so much that they can’t help but say “yes” to you.
If you REALLY are that bridge that brings donors and needs together, then you are the “Yes” bridge. There is no room for “No” people on the “Yes” bridge. “No” people are merely obstacles to overcome so that you can get to a “yes.”
How blessed are you to be this profession? I don’t want to put any other profession down, but most of them are “no” professions, with rules, regulations and policies that have to be adhered to, etc. Now, these are important, and we need them, but goodness, how hard would it be to get up everyday and say “no” to so many people?
And Richard and I have to admit, even though we are in the “Yes” profession, we see quite a bit of “No” people trying to slog it out in development. We both agree that watching a “No” person working in a “Yes” profession is a disaster. It’s a nasty situation when a “No” person tries to work in fundraising.
You may know some yourself. There is always an excuse not to do something. They are not proactive, they don’t plan, they don’t get out to see donors… they are a mess. Quite frankly, however, Richard and I don’t get angry or upset with them. We realize that it’s just not in their makeup to be fundraisers. Not everyone can do this job. The best thing to do for them is to let them go and help them find their way somewhere else.
Believe me, over the years, Richard and I have had to let many folks go who have tried to make it in our profession. They were miserable and they caused misery because they just weren’t suited for this profession.
But you, however, are a YES person! You are the one who gets up each morning and is grateful for your donors… for the need you meet everyday, for your colleagues who lift you up. You can’t wait to figure out how to get one of your donors to fund a special project that will help change the world. You can’t wait to meet a need that someone on your caseload really desires. You can’t wait to report on results to leadership and give them a vision of where you are going. You are always conscious that you are the BRIDGE… the YES Bridge!
Why? Because you are in the YES profession, where you are helping change donors’ lives every day.
As one of my favorite mystics, Hildegard of Bingen, says, “Yes, and again I say YES!”