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😁 Avert the pessimism spiral

Henry Ford is famous for saying, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” Or, as Yogi Berra put it, “ When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”

Between the lines: Getting sucked into a pity party when fundraising isn’t going your way is easy. When the downside is all you talk about, that is what you become.  It falls to leaders to break this cycle and elevate the conversation.

Work it: Instead of finding blame, address what is working well and why, and what can be improved and how. Research what peer organizations are doing successfully. Get the group to devise alternative approaches. If a volunteer regularly brings the group down, find a way to marginalize them.

It’s the economy: When the economy inevitably cycles down, I offer what a prominent philanthropist shared with me during the great recession. “Our peers are not nearly as pessimistic about the future, and their giving will not diminish despite the newspaper headlines.” They went on to say, “Fundraisers are not doing themselves any favors by expressing pessimism to their donors.”

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