Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gumption and Moxie

As I travel around and meet with wonderful people, I often wonder why change is not more central to our approach to fundraising. Why as organizations are we so risk averse? In order to change we don't just need new ideas, we actually need implementation of those ideas. Implementing change in our organization takes courage and planning, in reality it takes gumption. 

I liken it to when people come into regularly scheduled meetings, they all have "their seat" and tend to form patterns about where they sit. And as a person who comes in from the outside, if I sit in someone's seat, even if bearing donuts, I have a tough time winning them over. 

Why are we so afraid to fail? What is the worst thing that can happen to us if we thank people in a new and different way? We need more gumption! We need the courage and moxie to impact our organizations in a positive way and to see change become reality. In addition, when someone has the gumption to bring about new ideas, we need to support them and encourage their bravery, not be naysayers and knock every time they try something new.

As Seth Godin would say, "safe is risky". But we don't always have that mindset. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that safe is easy. How do we break out of this safe place? First we have to be open to new ideas and not afraid to give our donors what they want and need from us. Nationally we're not doing that- Only 22.9% of first time donors give our organizations a second gift. At some shops they are proud because their first time donor retention rate is 45%, but wait, if that was a grade in school we'd all be in trouble. We know that we're raising more money than ever, and we're really happy about that, but are we really happy about what our fundraising culture has become in our organizations? Are we transactional or relational? Do we have and encourage an attitude of gratitude?

I know this may be a bold post, but do one thing by this time next week. Come up with one new idea, support someone else or take the time to realize that your status quo may not be as successful as you think. One you have the idea, support it, nurture it and care for it and don't let it go. And when you hear your first three mentions of resistance, don't stop there. Keep going, grab some gumption and move it forward regardless of the perception of fear, knowing that not only will it bring about change, it will dynamically impact your donors and your organization.

So what do you have passion for that you're willing to have moxie and gumption for? Post your idea below. Need help implementing it? I'm an email away and would be happy to help you.



  1. Love it Lynne - and as a manager I can tell you that I want and encourage employees who take risks, try new things, think out of the box. The face of our donors is changing and we have to change with it. Keep up the great work.

  2. I call it the "Yeah, buts" that get in the way of moving forward. Suggest a new idea or approach and see how many "Yeah, buts" you get. It goes on in my own head about why I can't do something new. Ahh, the human condition!