Susan's Blog: The Odyssey Has Begun

Confidence is vital to success in life and work. Being unsure of yourself creates conflict internally and turmoil externally. Being sure that you’re doing something the right way allows you to be calm internally and productive externally.

Over the three decades I have worked in the nonprofit sector, I have witnessed turmoil in nonproft leadership that has caused me great concern for the future of our sector. Nonprofits are growing at an alarming rate--in 2012, there were more than one million tax-exempt organizations in the United States. In the past few years as I have connected with colleagues around the country, I have been hearing the same things--our leaders don’t know how to fundraise--they don’t get it.

What don’t they get? Fundraising isn’t about the money--it’s about the relationships (more on this in another post). When you’re an unsure fundraiser, you forget the person you’re talking with, and you only think about your budget needs. You have dollar signs in your eyes and the donor sees them. When you’re a confident fundraiser, you can listen, connect and truly engage with your donors. And then, the money will come.

Confidence Tip #1: Fundraising isn’t about the money.

Confidence Tip #2: When you’re a confident fundraiser, you can truly engage with your donors.

I have contemplated deeply what I could do to help; this is an issue that I know will be detrimental to our society if left unattended. Already, we’re seeing donor retention rates plummet, donors feel disconnected and tapped out. That breaks my heart as a board member, donor and fundraiser.

There is a vital need to shore up the fundraising skills of our nonprofit executives. To make nonprofit leaders see the important role that fundraising and philanthropy must play in their work. Until now there has been no place dedicated to helping the decision makers of our nonprofits learn the vital skills of major gift strategy and personal solicitation.

Then, seemingly by magic, I met a brilliant and talented young colleague who has passion for this work. I am delighted and relieved that we created a business to serve our nonprofit executives to help them become Confident Fundraisers. We are doing something.

We are beginning a journey. Shoring up the entire nonprofit sector to strengthen the social fabric of our communities is a big vision. We’re not in a hurry. We’re committed to a long-term impact over decades [we hope that our development colleagues will thank us, and we promise to take good care of your executives].  The Odyssey has begun.