I keep this little poster framed in my office – I believe “Grit, Grace & Gratitude” perfectly sum up what it takes to be a great fundraiser – it’s why I pin it to my Twitter bio.
The term “grit” isn’t new, but it received a lot of press when Angela Duckworth released her book by the same name. She describes grit this way:
Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals… Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something…
“Passion and perseverance for long-term goals” are vital traits every fundraiser should posses.
Here’s why: As fundraisers, our work is magical and fulfilling. But – spoiler alert! – it can be very challenging.
Yes, talent, luck and even serendipity play roles in fundraising success. But passion and perseverance goals are key to engaging supporters in our work. A lack of passion, whether for philanthropy, for the nonprofit mission, or for connecting with donors creates inauthentic actions and motivations.
Passion isn’t being emotional or waving one’s arms about. I experience fundraising passion as a deep enthusiasm and joy in our work. And joy and enthusiasm create uplifting emotions that are perceptible to donors, colleagues and others around you.
As important as passion is perseverance. As donors move through they world, they see problems all around them that they wish to solve. A great fundraiser is able to invite prospective donors to be part of the solution your nonprofit is creating. This is where the magic happens, when a donor moves from observer to hero.
We know, however, that supporters are busy – with family, work and a myriad of other commitments. A good fundraiser understands we must move according to the donor’s timing, rather than the needs of the nonprofit. Perseverance allows great fundraisers to build and nurture donor relationships over years.
Creating lasting change in the world takes perseverance, too. And sticking around for the work to get done
Grit is passion and perseverance. It is courage and resolve. And I know grit is a key trait of successful and ambitious fundraisers.