Competing with love!

by Marcy Heim on February 12, 2020

Happy Valentines DayCompeting with love…..

Many would say competition is bad – generating a winner and a loser. I say when you compete from a place of love and caring, competition kindles that spark to be better than you were before.

Quote You can't look

Watching my beloved football I notice what the athletes do to compete at their very best. Competing to win! The purpose of competition is to bring out YOUR personal best! And, unlike football, as we generate generosity, we can go beyond winning and losing and actually enlarge the pot! Hear win-win!

How often did we lose a giver because the competition did a better job engaging and appreciating them? How often were they disappointed by our lack of vision where “meeting the operations budget” is our loftiest goal?

When we compete with love, we ask, “How can I perform better to create the perfect experience for our givers, our staff, our board and those we serve?” Feeling like we aren’t perfect can make us stops dead in our tracks. But I’d encourage you to instead ask, “What is the gap between now and perfect?” and out of love for your givers and your cause, work to narrow the gap.

Once you identify this perfection gap you are in a position to think clearly about what stays, what goes and what needs your time and attention.

Here’s your game plan for your loving competitive success…..

1. You operate with the highest professional standards.

Those who can sincerely mentally focus on what is best for the donor – not the cause or their bottom line – present themselves as genuinely authentic and trustworthy. As a result, you turn trust, loyalty and integrity into a competitive advantage that is impossible to beat.

2. You have a track record of superior results which creates a superior level of credibility.

This is about doing what you do well and directly connecting the donor to the results. “You have restored this prairie.” (Verses – with your gift we have restored this prairie). You celebrate every new success, large and small, boldly, proudly and confidently. Yes, overall goals can be daunting, but clearly communicating your results – and the impact of donor giving – is an unbeatable combination.

3. You are a well-prepared, highly competent and supremely confident professional who always plays to win.

This is about doing AND being. This is about losing the blame game “If only my board would help,”  “If only we had more staff, etc” and embracing and growing our unique strengths. It’s about shedding the stuff others can do for us and we aren’t good at. It’s about prioritizing reflection, self-improvement, family and being unplugged along with performance metrics.

4. You take great pride in what you do…and you bring everything you’ve got and then some.

Pride – celebrating God’s gift of YOU. Persistence – eager for the opportunity to try again and again. Humility – you GET to do this work and serve. Being mentally tough – knowing you become what you think about. Surrounding yourself with positive messaging and self-talk. Staying clear of the pot-stirrers, Nay Sayers and nightly news.

5. You are far outside your comfort zone. You exist to see how much suffering you can much inconvenience you can tolerate…and… how much heart, will and character you really have.

Sometimes we wonder, “What’s next?!” A series of unforeseen complications, we get the never-ending bug, kids are sick, financial hits, leadership changes, cat dies, cancer, blizzard. It is just all too much. Yet we take one step, and then another step – believing we will grow to be bigger than our challenges – and indeed we will.

No competition. No progress.

When you compete with love, you stir yourself up! You develop a powerful spirit from within. Raising more major gifts is not about the external financial environment. It’s about your internal mental environment.

Don’t be afraid. I’m sending you the peace of knowing you are loved, you are valued and you are appreciated. Each day you choose to step out into the world and share your unique gifts, you connect others to experiencing the joy of generosity.


Marcy Heim is a trusted authority in the development profession and helps organizations and educational institutions boost their major gift programs through artful, long-term relationship building that dramatically increases fundraising success while promoting increased staff job satisfaction. To receive a free chapter from Marcy’s book, Empower Your Board to Serve as Effective Development Ambassadors, click here.

Questions:  Contact KK Konicek at

Leave a Comment

Anti-Spam Quiz:

Previous post:

Next post: