Among office workers, fundraisers are some of the toughest folks out there. #1 you have to develop the gumption to ask on a regular basis and #2 you get told “No” a lot. If you’re doing it right, you get told no more often than yes, a good deal more often. Lastly, fundraisers have to do this knowing that most of our organizations have persistent need and you’ll be asking year after year. Even if you finally complete a campaign or finally raise an endowment, there are always more people to help and more programs to create.
Is it fun to get told "no"? Nah, but what it does for fundraisers is builds resiliency. Fundraisers become warriors. They take their mission out there and champion it no matter the cost to their own egos. For example, it is such a feeling of freedom when you realize that if you expect 20% of your prospects to make a gift, which means 80% won’t! How wonderful to know that you can be told no that many times and it constitutes SUCCESS!
Without having been a fundraiser for so long, overcoming obstacles and the fear of failure might have held me back in my career and in life. But, I’ve fallen off that bicycle so much and had to get back on immediately, it just doesn’t bother me much anymore. I have fundraising to thank for giving me such a steely outlook.
Ironically, it’s getting told no that signals that you are asking enough. And it’s continuing to ask even though you get told no that makes fundraisers resilient. That’s another reason why I love my career in fundraising.
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.