The Team, a Little Faith and Fundraising Success!

Last week I introduced you to my fundraising revolution.  Are you fired up and ready to join? I know I promised you more data, but first I hope you’ll indulge me in sharing a story with you.

On February 3rd the underdog won out and the Baltimore Ravens became Super Bowl champions! It’s a little crazy that’s it’s taken me until July to write about my champion Ravens, but I guess all things come in due time.  I hope you’ll stay with me as share some insights I’ve learned from a coach who influences more than just his players.

In 2008, the Baltimore Ravens made what some would say was an unconventional hire when they named John Harbaugh as their new Head Coach.  Harbaugh, aka Harbs was a special teams coach – not a defensive or offensive coordinator, he wasn’t a hot college coach… he was a special teamer.  In his interview Harbs laid out his plan, his vision for the Ravens and I guess it wowed the brass; he landed the job.

In the press conference to introduce Harbs as head coach; he shared his vision. Harbs said “There are three important things to putting together a football team. No. 1 the team. The second most important thing is the team. And the third most important thing is the team.  We’ll stick with that through and through.” As a Ravens fanatic, I remember watching Harbs and his words stuck with me… It’s always about what’s good for the team.

Some may say that Harbs inherited a good team that his climb to the Super Bowl was inevitable.  But in a league often referred to as “Not For Long” inheriting a good team means little.  During Harbs’ first five years he’s been tested.  He’s made tough decisions and dealt with releasing fan favorite veterans to make way for untested rookies.  But, all the decisions have been made for the good of the team.  In his first five years, Harbs and his team of Ravens have been to playoffs every year, they’ve made it to three AFC championship games including one in New England I still can’t talk about, but they lived to fight another day and this year there was a different ending in New England, which lead to Harbs and the Ravens hoisting the Lombardi in NOLA.

Before every game commentators make their picks and for the Super Bowl all the CBS commentators picked the 49ers except for one, Bill Cowher, he picked the Ravens.  Super Bowl winning coach Cowher knew something the other commentators didn’t. While everyone was wowed and enamored with Colin Kapernick, coach Cowher knew that one person doesn’t win championships; teams will championships.

You’re probably wondering what does this have to do with you and your fundraising goals, right?  It has everything to do with it.  Harbs had a plan, he didn’t know the outcome but he had a plan and he had faith in his abilities and convictions.

I spend my days talking to organizations and everyone is asking for proven results.  I often hear that’s a good idea; who’s tried it?  What I’ve learned is we’re really good at fundraising.  We know how to fundraise, but we’re not growing. This is where Harbs and the Ravens come into play.  Sometimes you need to take a risk, travel the path unknown and have faith in your abilities and knowledge. There will be ups and downs; it won’t be perfect. But, what you learn along the way will help you make better decisions. In fundraising and life for that matter you’re not always going to have a proven formula, sometimes it takes an unlikely coach to help you win a championship.  Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and let veterans leave for fresh eyes and new ideas.

Are you good enough to win a championship or is time to have take what you’ve learned, try something new and have a little faith in your abilities.

I was watching the ESPY’s and Robin Roberts was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I knew Robin was a cancer survivor and was then diagnosed with a blood disease as a result of her chemo.  But, I didn’t know Robin’s story.  It was incredibly moving. In her acceptance speech, she shared many valuable insights, but my favorite was:  when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.

Fear is what often holds us back from reaching our potential.  Don’t let fear hold you or your programs back.  While hope isn’t a strategy, sometimes you need to have a little faith: faith in yourself, faith in your team and faith in your plan.

I’ll be back next week with more data to help you embark on your fundraising revolution.  Until then always remember…. When fear knocks, let faith answer the door.  Thanks Robin!