Can you be TOO passionate?

by Marcy Heim on May 11, 2022

Together. Again. Wohoo!

Sharon & Marcy

It was just the BEST! Three incredible and passionate IN PERSON experiences!

Congrats to The Volunteer Center, their passionate Executive Director Sharon Bass, and her team for a wildly successful Celebration of Service event! The hall was ignited with hundreds of energetic high school students through seniors who lend a hand and lead! You just can’t keep that volunteer spirit down!  An honor to be there to celebrate with you!

Led by the passionate Heather Hocker, Lubbock Symphony Guild member and conference co-chair, the Texas Association of Symphony Orchestras joined together IN PERSON to spark new fundraising success and present their Awards of Excellence in the amazing Buddy Holly Hall. A delight to be with you to inspire generosity and meet your amazing passionate philanthropists!

Texas Association of Symphony Orchestras

AFP Icon 2022Finally – after presenting online for the past two years – what a thrill to passionately present IN PERSON among almost 3000 colleagues at AFP ICON 2022 in Las Vegas. The fundraisers in my full-day session left inspired, equipped and hugged. It was four passion-filled days to be sure!

Yet there were times during this adventure when I became painfully aware that our passion can sometimes be too much…..

Can YOU be TOO passionate?

Here are a few examples of when passionate good intentions can go very wrong.

1. Change – and do it right now.

Actually, this one’s on me and I’m gonna be really transparent with you all.  Thanks to two incredible gals in my pre-conference session I had a real ah-ha. Having dedicated my life to empowering others to take personal responsibility for their lives, my passion can get in the way of my compassion for where someone is right now.

We all have limiting beliefs, challenges, and life struggles that make us feel we are not enough – not good enough to talk to that wealthy person, present that talk, make that ask.  We blame others for these beliefs. Having personally experienced (thanks to two kind but firm coaches) the life change of owning your limiting beliefs and repeatedly saying, “NO!” to letting them rule your self-esteem, I can get TOO passionate in wanting this same change for others – right now.

YOU are the only one who can make your change happen.  All my wanting it so passionately FOR YOU will not do it and I can come across as not “getting it.”  In fact, I DO get it – and I want something different for you. But my good intentions can go very wrong. I am sorry for any hurt I may have caused – please know my passion for your change comes from love.  

2. Thank you and how about more?

At AFP ICON there was a question from an audience in a session of over 300 about putting a giving envelope in with the thank you receipt letter. The speaker properly sensed this was a big deal and while he shared that in his research with clients, they did get gifts doing this, the audience overwhelming voted to NOT include an envelope.  I was among the raised hands. You may get some gifts but you raise far more disgust at your lack of true gratitude.  It’s a question I ask everyone I interview in feasibility studies and 100% say, “Can’t you ever just say thank you without having your hand out for more?”  Enough said.  Our passion for wanting more money goes really wrong here.

3. Don’t you care about the planet?  (Or cancer, or children, or whatever)

Chances are you work for a place where YOU are personally passionate about the mission. That’s a good thing. It’s the fuel that keeps us going in our challenging work. Yet sometimes our own passion comes across as shaming to others who don’t place your mission as the priority you do – or at all. It doesn’t mean it’s not important to them, or they don’t see the need, but it’s not THEIR PASSION.

You are not the one to judge how someone else chooses to present their philanthropy – or if they are philanthropic at all. You always have the opportunity to demonstrate the impact giving makes. Everyone’s lives are constantly changing – and this may inspire a new passion for your mission.  

4. We need to raise this now.

In our passion to accomplish something on a set timeline for our non-profit, we can decide our timeline is more important than the donor’s timeline. Sharing our need to raise the matching gift by X to properly market the opportunity to others, or sharing our campaign timeline, can spark action on the part of our donors.  However, especially in raising major gifts, it is always the donor’s timeline that needs to be discovered and respected.  Capacity, Interest, Readiness – the three data points to determine if the time is right.  

5. If we entice them to volunteer, (or anything) they will grow their own passion.

John David Latour Volunteer CenterOk – this is my BEST story! John David Latour, a student speaker at the Volunteer Center’s Celebration of Service asked a brilliant question in his talk. Was it right to “require” volunteering as part of leadership programs.  Did this foster the wrong reason to do it? Yet as he began to volunteer, he developed a sincere passion for it and concluded the requirement simply led to the chance to experience it. YES!

I gave my boys, from 3 or 4 years old – I forget – a “reward” of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards if they would sing a song for company at our house. Some would accuse me of bribing them.  Growing up we continually heard how “comfortable” our boys were talking to adults.  Today they are both accomplished public speakers, entertainers and shine in their work environments.  Let’s develop passions that allow us to thrive!

Cheers to YOU! May you find joy in living your passion! May you find patience with others who may not share your passion! May you be lifted up by the incredible opportunities to do good that come from partnering with those who share your passion.

Invest in JOY®

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