Are you lucky, or good?

Are you lucky, or good?

August 24th, 2009

by Ernie Vargo

Have you ever heard someone say, “She is so lucky to have Mr. and Mrs. Smith make such a large gift”?

Is it really luck? Williams Jennings Bryan said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.” I firmly believe that those who work hard and take advantage of their situations are the same people who are successful. It really isn’t about luck.

The past 11 years, I have worked with probably 75 or more clients that are quite varied in their mission and fundraising capabilities. The common thread with the organizations that thrive and are successful is the drive and will of the leader. I worked with a CEO who was always a bit nervous about celebrating success. He wondered if they celebrated would they lose their edge. I don’t agree with him, but you get the idea.

People are always seeking ways to shortcut fundraising. They don’t want to take the time to create a vision, articulate the vision and invite others to be part of the vision. Instead they want to take the fast approach. Let’s ask them for a seven-figure gift even though they have no relationship with your organization.

The key is to do your homework. Create a plan and work the plan. Work harder than your competitors. Aggressively, but thoughtfully engage and cultivate prospective donors. Work the plan. Then people will be asking how you got so lucky. Maybe luck has nothing to do with it, but most people will never understand.

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