How to be a Fundraising Super Bowl Star

The Fundraising Super Bowl is your nonprofit’s big game – and winning looks like raising the funds you need to serve. Here are some lessons from that “other” big game.

In 1961, on the first day of training camp for the Green Bay Packers, coach Vince Lombardi stepped in front of his team. These players were some of the best in the game, but their previous season had ended with a heartbreaking 4th quarter loss in the Championship game.

Coach Lombardi held up a ball. 

“Gentlemen,” he said, “this is a football.”

They started training camp with the fundamentals of the game. Blocking. Tackling. Every small thing. The basics.

Lombardi never lost in the playoffs again – the Super Bowl trophy? It’s called the Vince Lombardi trophy. 

But even the best at the game aren’t perfect.

Don’t Give Up Because You’re Not Perfect

This year, the winning quarterback was Patrick Mahomes. In the game, he completed 21 of 27 passes. The Eagles’ Jalen Hurts completed 27 of 38 passes.

See? Not perfect.

I find that reassuring.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. When you talk to people about funding your mission, do you get a “yes” every time?

You don’t just stop doing these things when it doesn’t go your way. 

During the season, MVP Mahomes completed just 67% of his passes (actually, that’s really good). I’m sure he’d love to be perfect, but he also knows there has never been a perfect game. 

Nobody has ever started and finished a game without throwing an incomplete pass. Nobody.

Can you imagine if Patrick Mahomes went out to play, threw a couple of incomplete passes, and then said, “That’s it! We obviously need to just run the ball. No more passing, because I can’t complete every one.”

Your Real Job as the Fundraising Quarterback

If you’re the quarterback on your fundraising team, your job is simply to move the ball down the field. You aren’t trying for a touchdown on every play. Line up your team, and execute the appropriate play for the moment. 

In fundraising, that means you’re doing the basics.

  • Communicating consistently with donors.
  • Getting your message in front of new people.
  • Thanking them when they give.
  • Sending emails.
  • Telling stories. 
  • Reporting back.

Ladies, and gentlemen, this is an email. This is a phone call. This is a face to face visit.

These are the basics that move us incrementally down the field, one play at a time.

Some of those incompletes have nothing to do with you. Other times, you need more practice, or training, or time with a coach. Maybe you’ve got an injury that keeps you from playing your best. If you’ve been hurt by something somebody said; if you’ve got ministry wounds, or you don’t have people encouraging you along the way, those are all things that need attention. It happens. It’s part of the game. Treat the wound. Do the basics.

You may also like:  Ethan Bryan – Baseball and Storytelling

Play by play. 

Story by story.

I want to see you making those incremental steps. I want to see you getting better and better at telling stories and sharing with your donors, bringing people along with you, building out your team, your fanbase.

I’ll leave you with one more Vince Lombari quote:

“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

Keep doing the basics–with excellence. If you need training to tell your stories, check out Mission Writers

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