Passion: The Game-Changing Ingredient
Rather than risk starting an argument, I won't mention specific examples. But look at your organization's messages. Have you inadvertently removed passion in the quest to please everyone?
We give up too easily
Passion is often a result of having a story that communicates the real problem or the amazing difference your solution allowed. But we all know that these stories can be hard to come by. Either we're stuck in the office, relying on people who don't understand the importance of these "heart" stories, or we settle for "good enough" instead of working harder to uncover "great."
Sometimes it's just a quote or a single fact that can take our fundraising appeal from perfunctory to passionate. But that one thing may take hours to unearth. What's that investment in time worth to your mission's success?
We really don't care
Let's be honest — the economic turmoil has left many nonprofits staffed too lean. Too few people are having to do too much. Finding time to really care often seems impossible.
I'm not going to lecture anyone; all I suggest is that you ask yourself if you really, truly care about the work you are doing. Are you passionate? If not, it will be hard for donors to catch any passion from you.
You may have read to this point hoping for the magic solution to passionless people. I don't know any quick cures, but I hope others reading this column will give their ideas for reigniting passion.
I will make one suggestion, however — take a look at the poem you probably haven't read since high school graduation, "If …" by Rudyard Kipling. I just reread it, and a few lines really stand out (with my minor paraphrase, for which I ask forgiveness).
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 email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.