Are You a 'Yes' Person?
[My business partner] Richard [Perry] and I have met and worked with so many different types of personalities in our business. To be honest, it's invigorating and frustrating all at the same time. But, over the years, we've encountered two distinct types of people that have both made an impression on us and served as predictors of their success in fundraising.
It's the "Yes"camp vs. the "No" camp.
In dealing with problems, mistakes, obstacles and challenges, we come across two types of people (yes, I know, I'm making a massive generalization, but hang with me) – those people who look at the above situations and, almost every time, have an attitude of "Yes, let's figure out how to overcome these and create a solution," and those people whose reaction is, "No, this is a big problem and it's not going to work."
Which one are you?
Do you ever notice that when you are at a party or with a group of co-workers, there are certain people whom others just seem to gravitate toward? Those are the "Yes People." Why do you and I want to be around those people? Because they exude positivity, they are pleasant to be around, and their outlook on their work and life is genuine.
And, that is key. "Yes People" are the real deal. They are confident, yet humble. They have great energy, yet are aware of their surroundings and the feelings of other people. They tackle problems with a great attitude, yet understand the enormity of the problem at hand.
When Richard and I interview prospective MGOs and other development professionals, this "yes attitude" is the first thing we look for. Why? Because in our experience, we know that "Yes People" are successful. Of course, experience and knowledge are important, but we've recommended people who have no background with major donors or fundraising because they have such a tremendous attitude and outlook. We know that whatever they don't have in experience or knowledge they will figure out how to get.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.