Roosevelt’s Advice for Fundraisers

 In Smith & Dale Blog

I was watching the Roosevelt Documentary on Netflix last night with my husband.  There is a very well-known quote from Theodore Roosevelt, and 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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither 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 and staff 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, too.

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