Grab a Coke and Invigorate Your Fundraising
3. 'It's not failure, it's learning'
Sometimes nonprofits can be brutal places to make mistakes. Money is tight, every dollar wasted is money that doesn't go to programs, lives are on the line ... (You've heard it all, I'm sure — guilt is a fundraiser's constant companion.)
But let's face it — we all make mistakes from time to time. What matters is that you learn from your mistakes. My process for dealing with my errors (or those of others) has evolved over the years to these three steps:
- Figure out what went wrong.
- Figure out how you are going to fix it.
- Figure out what you can do to make sure it never happens again.
The best programs are often the result of a mistake or two that forced us to step back and look hard at what we were doing. And that's when we see the flaws. Sometimes we have to take the figurative magnifying glass to our programs to see the mistakes; other times they jump up in our faces and scare the living daylights out of us. But if we can turn them into an opportunity to learn and then use that learning to improve — well, it's really a win!
Check out Butler's four other top lessons, and ask yourself, "What can I learn from Coke that will make me a better fundraiser?" Because if there's one lesson this old dog has learned, it's that education is a lifelong journey if we want to keep the "fun" in fundraising and be the best fundraisers we can be.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.