Sadly, too many people are misled or misdirected by the media and teachers about what success and happiness are really all about. Too often we are deluded to mistake success for achievement and love for some unattainable Disney-like ever-after feeling.
The truth is that success is simply the pursuit of worthy goals not the achievement of them.
The fleeting moment when an athlete stands on a podium with a gold medal draped around their neck is not success. It’s achievement, a sign of a successful person who pursued a worthy goal over time, day in and day out – usually for years, or decades. Therefore the successful athlete decided on a specific worthy purpose, created a plan, and doggedly pursued the goal with tenacity, patience, and persistence.
Same goes for the successful fundraiser. You know that the big gift didn’t just happen. Success was not found when the ink dried and the ad ran in the Chronicle of Philanthropy announcing the amazing donation. No! You, the truly successful fundraiser, know that you become successful the moment you decide on your goal, and you remain successful all the while that you pursue it.
Oh, and this applies to your donors too. They find and enjoy success as they pursue their philanthropic goals, right? Therefore, both of you can be successful when you take the journey together and everyone wins.
Happiness isn’t a fairy tale. The happy person is not the one with a huge smile on her face in the ad on TV, but rather the one who gives love to everyone she encounters day in and day out. Love is giving (or receiving, but not taking or using). Love is happiness and pursuing happiness – a very worthy goal – is success.
These concepts are somewhat abstract. They are not easy to grasp and they don’t fit into the soundbite-and-Instagram-post-oriented world we live in. Plus they are rarely addressed by the media or our educators. For them, it’s easier to simply present a photo of a rapper on a yacht adorned with jewelry harvesting love from adoring, bikini-clad beauties as a successful person.
When it comes to the raising of money (especially major gifts and legacy gifts), the transaction is the achievement that finally occurs as a result of your dogged pursuit of worthy goals. If that pursuit constantly involves love — giving — it will result in happiness for you, your donors, and the beneficiaries of their impactful gifts. You can move the process along faster and further if you give more love and deliver more value to your supporters so they can more easily express their love for humanity through philanthropy.
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