How are you going to handle your next fundraising set back? #TBT

Forward: This is one of my favorite posts. I thought it was a good message to re-share as we close the door on 2013 and welcome in 2014. 

We all go through tough times, but how you handle adversity is what truly matters.  Last week, I had the opportunity to listen to a talk by Jeff Evans; a mountaineer and motivational speaker.  Jeff had a ton of interesting stories to share, but one stuck with me.

He said… I’m paraphrasing here… when there are four of us climbing up Mt. Everest and we’re tethered together with a rope; if one of us stops or falls we all fall.  We’re a team.  But, it was Jeff’s next statement that struck a chord. Again paraphrasing… When some falls we don’t ask who fell, or figure out who’s at fault; instead we check to make sure everyone is all right.  Because blaming someone for falling isn’t really helpful at 22thousand ft.

I’m not sure what it is about us non-profit folks, but I’ve noticed we tend to blame or beat ourselves up when don’t hit certain goals.  But, that’s not helpful or productive.

I was talking to a friend who manages P2P events at a local non-profit; she was harping on the fact that they were $3,500 behind in revenue compared to this time last year.  I asked how are your registrations?  She said that’s the thing registrations are up, but our dollars are down.

Ok, let’s pause here.  My friend shouldn’t be in a state of woe; instead she should focus on her accomplishment. So the dollars might be down, but the registrations are up.  This says to me that she’s doing a great job marketing the event, but maybe needs to take another look at her follow up fundraising messaging.  I have no doubt that my friend will meet her fundraising goal, she’s smart and a hard worker, but she’s not doing herself any favors by beating herself up.

I used to do this too. Maybe we beat ourselves up because we know the money we are tasked with raising is important – people are depending on us.  But, when people are depending on you – you need to be in tip top shape.  You don’t have time to be in a state of woe. You need to figure out how you’re going reach the summit a.k.a hit your fundraising goals.

As I’m writing this, I can’t help think about my Mom.  Growing up my Mom wouldn’t let me have these woe is me moments.  Instead she would say “Amy you need to get up, dust yourself off and move forward.”  Thanks Mom!

For all my friends out there with events, if you’re numbers aren’t where you want them to be it’s not time to call in National Guard. Instead, walk away from your desk, go make a cup of tea (or my case run to Starbucks) and clear your head. Have you noticed this is often my advice? Good decisions are made with a clear head; rash and often not so good decisions are made in a state of panic.

Jeff and his team didn’t care who was at fault because it’s wasn’t productive; nor does it motivate you to keep going. If you focus on the negative you won’t be able to see your potential. As Mom always encouraged me to get back up, dust myself and move forward; I’m encouraging you to do the same.


In the tradition of #ThrowbackThursdays here’s me and Mom.  Growing up I was never far from my Mom’s side, which is evident in this picture. I’m sticking with Mom, while my sisters are hanging together.

For a few tips on what to look for in the numbers, check out my original post.