Fundraising and Football Part 5: Focus, Strong Leadership, Always Another Game or Season
Last blog, we discussed keeping score and how people want to be on a winning team in part four of this fundraising and football series. This week, in the final installment, we’re covering three more things fundraisers can learn from the game.
9. You must keep focused.
There is a lot of noise in the stadium as fans (sometimes even your own) cause a distraction. And there are a lot of experts—most who have never played college ball or entered professional coaching.
Likewise, in fundraising, we have well-intentioned staff and volunteers who prefer their own strategies—most often special events, grantwriting and grassroots appeals. You are the nonprofit and fundraising professional with the training, experience, success and credentials. Create a plan and keep focused!
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand," said Alexander Graham Bell. "The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus." Focus on your campaign, leverage resources, focus on the most important things and you’ll see great campaign results.
Strong, positive leadership can transform and inspire a football team or a fundraising team. The right leaders bring life to a cause and confidence in making an investment.
We’ve talked before about the importance of having the right plans—from a strategic plan involving key constituencies to communications and development/advancement plans. While these plans are designed to provide focus no matter who is in the roles, you must have the right leadership to implement them, instill confidence and motivate. Whether your leader is reserved or charismatic, he or she needs to instill confidence in donors and other constituencies.
11. There Is Always Another Game and Another Season.
In football and in fundraising there will always be another campaign. Remember that you will need healthy players and committed donors and volunteers for the next effort.
One fundraising campaign can groom leaders for your board, for example, or the next campaign. Every opportunity to share about your vital mission and plans is a true privilege. A campaign time frame is something that an organization places in the lives of donors. Sometimes, this intersects at the right time with the right message, and sometimes not. That doesn’t mean someone who declines or makes a smaller gift won’t be a major-gift prospect in a future effort!
Football and fundraising have a lot of similarities. One thing for sure—when done properly, both can provide a lot of positive energy to achieve a goal. In the case of fundraising, that goal is life-changing and life-saving.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.