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

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?”

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jim Weber
Jim Weber
6 years ago

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

Gregory Warner
6 years ago

My pleasure Jim. Thanks to TJ of course.

Joe Drago
Joe Drago
6 years ago

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.

6 years ago
Reply to  Joe Drago

Exactly Joe. Challenge ’em!!

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!