Learning From Other People's Words
Last Year at the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation’s New York Conference, the keynote address was delivered by a brilliant guy named Seth “Yossi” Siegel. Whether the topic is business or marketing, law or politics, or international affairs, Yossi is a joy to engage. He’s knowledgeable, well-read, and has the ability to connect seemingly disparate things to come up with new ideas and approaches.
Yossi especially enjoys deriving insight from well-crafted quotes — so much so that he published a book of his favorite quotes that he called “Other People’s Words.”
Like Yossi, I’ve always enjoyed clever, insightful quotes and turns of phrase because they can help us remember and apply principles that are important for success in our field and in our lives.
Here are some of my favorites. I hope that a moment’s reflection on one or more of these will be valuable to you:
Most people have the will to win. Few people have the will to prepare to win.
Are you willing to do the hard preparatory work, or do you let yourself wing it, hoping that good enough will be good enough?
Wishin’ don’t make it so. And its corollary: Hope is not a strategy.
We all need a healthy dose of idealism and aspiration if we truly plan to change the world … or our lives. But getting anything important done also requires practical planning and hard work.
When the pain stops, the nostalgia can begin.
Back in college we used to say, “The best view of the Golden Dome is in the rearview mirror.”
Hire for attitude; train for skills.
Obviously, we’d prefer getting both, but if you have to choose, remember that skills are easier to teach than attitude.
People can’t give to you if they don’t know you’re there, and they won’t give to you unless and until you persuade them of the importance of your work.
Nonprofits deserve and need strong branding to create an environment in which their fundraising can work better and their programs can be even more effective. But to be successful, the branding needs to support — not undermine — fundraising messages. For example, a brand of “hope” does not differentiate your organization from others and, worse still, risks undermining fundraising messages of need and urgency.
Tom Harrison is the former chair of Russ Reid and Omnicom's Nonprofit Group of Agencies. He served as chair of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.