Focus on Possibilities, Not Obstacles
My neighbor recently shared a story of a professor who handed out an exam to all of his students. The exam was one piece of paper with a black dot on it. There were no questions. Nothing. Just a black dot. He then told them to write about what they saw. At the end of the exam, he collected all the papers and started reading each one out loud. Without exception, every student was focused on the black dot, what it meant, how it was positioned on the paper, etc.
After all the reading was done he then said: “I’m not going to grade you on this. I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot — and the same thing happens in our lives.”
And he went on to explain that we all have this tendency to focus on what is wrong, what is troubling, what could happen vs. all the good and all the possibilities in our lives.
The same thing happens in major gifts. There are major gift officers (MGOs) who just cannot get going because all the systems are not quite right, all the information is not quite right, etc. So, they are frozen and become less effective than they could be.
Then there are other MGOs who write cases and offers that focus on the two to three programs where they can get data and information. Instead of complaining that they don’t have much data from a lot of programs, they move ahead with what they do have data and information on.
At almost every junction on the road of your life, both personal and professional, you have a decision to make. Will you let the obstacles you face stop you dead in your tracks? Or will you run with what is there and what is possible?
It is a choice. I hope you will go with possibility.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.