Problems & Challenges: Bring Em On!!

by Marcy Heim on June 27, 2018

“The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem.” —T. Harv Eker

Some days it seems everything is a challenge. Major gift calls cancel, the data base fails, you get bad news, it’s hot and you struggle. Other days it seems that no matter what you are faced with you somehow effortlessly plow right through. The size of the problem is not the issue; it is the size of YOU!

In a recent poll at a conference these challenges emerged for those in our profession.

  • 30% – Need more major gifts
  • 24% – Overwhelmed
  • 18% – Lack Clarity
  • 15% – Lack board support
  • 13% – Staffing issues

Being overwhelmed is high on the list!  Here are 3 problems that plague us in major gift development work and how to be bigger than they are.

1. Overwhelm and Gratitude. Your email box is forever full; there are always more prospective givers to see, family needs, and on and on.I like to look at overwhelm as nothing more than proof I am expanding! If I didn’t have more and more opportunities in all aspects of my life, I wouldn’t be overwhelmed! The key to busting this ‘problem’? GRATITUDE! Stop. Look at everything youwomen sunset gratefulhave to deal with — your development work, event, deadline, kids, volunteer work — and shout out loud, “Thank you for all of this in my life! I am grateful for this work, my family, my service. I am gratified I have the talent, resources and abilities to be given these many things to do!” Now just start one. You feel better, right?


2.Technology Mishaps  Oh, sure, TODAY your internet service acts up. Cell phone reception not good right when you need to make that call. Why is my Uber app not allowing me to ask for a ride?

Technology allows us to do some amazing things and serve so many more people. Again, the problem is not BIG; it is you who are small. To bust technology mishaps remind yourself how many more prospective givers and donors you can reach because we have today’s technology and social media; how many more options we have to share our impact — the joy and power of philanthropy! We can respond in ways our donors prefer. Also remember that pen, paper, handwritten note and a stamp together is still a powerful tool. A phone call with a quick, “thank you” is always an option. And praise yourself for all the knowledge you have acquired about technology — at whatever pace you have acquired it.

3. Unexpected Changes and Choosing Optimism  What? ________ (major donor name inserted here) called and is sick and can’t make our appointment? The beltline is backed-up from an accident? The flight is delayed!? The package didn’t arrive! It is always our choice. Stuff will continue to happen but it is ALWAYS our choice how we react to it. Anger, laughter, intense alternate probing. Decide right now if you want to ADD to the wreckage or ADD to the OPTIMISM. Surround yourself with others who choose to be optimistic. Don’t spread the crap by telling the story of your change over and over. How many of you spilled your coffee in the morning at home and have told 8 people about it by 10 a.m.? Stop that!

“Something good is going to happen to me!” Say this the second you are faced with an unpleasant change. You will like what happens!

Invest in JOY®



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

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