Roosevelt’s Advise For Fundraisers & How Much Money Have You Raised This Month?

 In Smith & Dale Blog

Roosevelt’s Advice for Fundraisers

I was watching the Roosevelt Documentary on Netflix last night with my husband.  There is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.  It is very well known, when I heard it again I began to think about how it related really well to development professionals and leadership.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

How do I relate this to fundraising?  There are those in our profession and those who serve on boards who will fundraise.  In my opinion, they dare greatly.  If we don’t ask for an investment in our mission, we won’t receive it.  Those who are actively selling their mission, asking for an investment, selling gala tickets are daring greatly.  Some may say they are setting themselves up for rejection and the truth is yes, some people will say no.  But we must remember all those who said yes because of those brave board members who dared greatly.

I also like to think of the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, because if we aren’t in the arena, we aren’t doing our jobs.  I know – dramatic, but I love this analogy and it motivates me when my enthusiasm wanes and my devotion is taxed.  Maybe it will help you.

Hey Consultant!
How much money did you raise this month?

I really don’t like this question, because I become immediately defensive.  First) I haven’t done my job in educating that individual because we as consultants aren’t raising the money – we are helping you raise the money.  After all, these are your donors and your relationships.  Second)  there is no quick fix when it comes to raising money.  For development professionals, it is also frustrating.  Yes, they are in the trenches and responsible for leading the fundraising effort, but the board has to be involved and informed.  Sure, the occasional windfall occurs, or an unexpected bequest rolls in, but mostly the money comes in because of a carefully thought out development plan being executed flawlessly by your development staff.

When development professionals seem crazy busy and there isn’t any dough coming in, just consider that they are doing the necessary work to facilitate those donations.  Instead of asking how much money did you raise, ask how you can help to reach the development goals of the organization, then roll your sleeves up and pitch in!

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