Why your greatest enemy in major gifts fundraising is the status quo

This challenge had me angry for more than a week…

“Pharmaceutical sales reps have 15 meetings per day. Why can’t you?”

Many years ago, I worked with a coach who met with me weekly to help me be more successful at major gifts.

During one of our meetings, I shared that I was on track to hit my goal of 20 visits that month.

He was shocked that my goal was so low.

That’s when he told me that pharmaceutical sales reps have 15 meetings per day.

Immediately I did not like this response.

I started thinking of all the reasons he was wrong:

  • You don’t have any direct experience doing major gifts.
  • It’s different for them because…
  • The best fundraisers I know only have 20 visits per month.
  • I’m doing everything I can already!

Now, some of these things are true.

That being said, this challenge stuck with me for weeks.

I still think about it to this day.

I talked to sales professionals in different industries about what their goals were for meetings.

I talked to major gift officers that I respected to learn more about their approach.

I thought about this for hours.

Looking back after several years l can appreciate what this consultant was doing.

He wasn’t trying to tell me that I should have 15 visits per day.

What he was trying to do was metaphorically smack me across the head with a big stick to break me out of the status quo.

He wanted ME to approach what I do in a new light without simply going along with whatever someone told me just because “that’s industry standard.”

One of the greatest things I took away from those meetings is this:

“Your biggest enemy is the status quo.”

Who do you have in your life who consistently challenges you to be better?

Kevin Fitzpatrick is the owner of One Visit Away, a consulting business helping leaders of nonprofits schedule more and better visits with their benefactors.  Kevin’s goal is to help fundraising professionals constantly seek to deepen their relationships with their benefactors.  After all, you’re just One Visit Away from growing your mission and your impact.  


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1 year ago

Excellent article! The inertia of the status quo sometimes needs a 2 x 4. It challenged me!

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