Resiliency is the Key to a Career in Fundraising

Author: Cedric Richner, CFRE

One of my favorite anecdotes about fundraising comes from an acquaintance who performed one of the most difficult forms of fundraising out there:  door-to-door canvassing.  He put it this way:

“After the first door got slammed in my face, I literally sat on the curb and cried. After the tenth, I was sick to my stomach.  At a certain point, though, the door slamming stopped mattering.  It didn’t even register anymore.  I was having great success and doing good work for a non-profit organization.  I was raising a lot of money for a cause I really believed in.”

I don’t think there is evidence of anyone dying from being told “no” in a fundraising context.  People who are in the fundraising business (or want to be) have a very simple decision to make.  “Can I handle being told ‘no’?”

It’s important to be brutally honest with one’s self.  Statistically, you are not going to get the gift you are seeking at least three out of every four solicitations you make in your career.  If that is not something you want to endure, then fundraising is not the career for you.

At this ask-heavy time of year, remember:  Your ask of a prospective donor is important to making the world a better place.  Hang in there!  We need fearless, resilient “askers” in our profession.