Fundraising Grit

Slide030Last year I wrote about successful campaign teams having super human stick-to-it-tiveness like that of silver-screen character Ethan Hunt and his Mission Impossible crew. Nonprofit campaign leaders should demonstrate an unwavering belief that success is theirs and never, ever give up. I was basing my fundraising team conclusions on personal experiences from being a part of winning campaign teams over the past twenty years. Today, I am pleased to share with you research-based evidence via TED to support my experiences, which I will refer to as fundraising grit.

Last week TED Talks Education premiered on PBS, the first-ever TED special produced specifically for television. Although I missed the premier, I watched the nearly one-hour show through the PBS iPad app and was impressed by Angela Lee Duckworth. In six minutes Duckworth shared the key to success as determined by her study, Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals. She said:

“Grit is sticking with your future — day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years — and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

Just a few days ago Josh Linkner wrote about Duckworth’s study in his recent Forbes article in which he drilled down into “some of the building blocks of grit” (below) and asked the question Where can you improve?:

• A clear goal
• Determination despite others’ doubts
• Self-confidence about figuring it out
• Humility about knowing it doesn’t come easy
• Persistence despite fear
• Patience for the small stuff that obscures the path
• A code of ethics they live by
• Flexibility in the face of roadblocks
• A capacity for human connection and collaboration
• A recognition that accepting help does not equate to weakness
• A focus and appreciation of each step in the journey
• An appreciation of other people’s grit
• A loyalty that never sacrifices connections along the way
• An inner strength that brings them to their goal

Linkner writes that “anyone can improve upon their grittiness, but it’s much easier to do so when you’re passionate about the subject.” I could not agree more.

If you are genuinely passionate about a cause you care about, either as a volunteer or as a paid nonprofit professional, then be grittier and reach your fundraising goals.

I’d love to hear your personal stories about fundraising grit.

Full disclosure: I am a huge PBS fan and a proud board member of my community-based PBS station WTCI.


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