Are you hunting mice or antelopes? [Guest post from T.J. McGovern]

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

t.j. McGovernThe following is a guest post thanks to my friend T.J. McGovern, Owner/Principal at McGovern Consulting Group (McG).

Here is a teaching story I usually share (with a tip of the hat to Tom Suddes):
A lioness can actually capture, kill and eat a field mouse.
However, it turns out that the energy burned doing that is greater than the caloric content of the mouse.
Therefore, if a lioness spends her whole day hunting and eating field mice … she would slowly starve itself to death! (Note: Lionesses do most of the hunting for the pride. The male lions stay home to watch the young cubs.)
A lioness cannot live on mice. She needs to eat antelopes. Antelopes are big.
Although antelopes require more speed and strength for the lioness to capture and kill them… once killed, they provide a huge feast for her, her cubs, her lion pal and the pride.
A lioness can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope.
She will die “chasing mice”.
If she spends all of her time and energy chasing “field mice,” her short-term reward is a feeling of ‘ACTIVITY’, and maybe even a bit of ‘ACCOMPLISHMENT’.
However, in the long run, without a doubt, she will die.
The lesson as it relates to fundraising is that each of us need to ask ourselves, “Are we spending our days CHASING MICE or HUNTING ANTELOPES? Do we even know the difference?”
“Do we know who our antelope are?”
“Are we going to continue doing special events (that aren’t special), blasting spam, mailing junk, building awareness, rebranding and lord knows what else… mostly focused on ‘MICE’?”
“Or are we going to make it essential that we focus all we’ve got on the ANTELOPES?”

4 responses to “Are you hunting mice or antelopes? [Guest post from T.J. McGovern]”

  1. Jim Weber says:

    Great anology- love it and so true how many charities spend the majority of time chasng the “mice” Thanks for posting!

  2. My pleasure Jim. Thanks to TJ of course.

  3. Joe Drago says:

    Thanks for the analogy.
    It would be a great intro to challenge an organization’s leadership to reflect on their activities and goals for the last year and then decide if they need to do anything differently starting now.

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