The secret to pivoting – Part I

by Marcy Heim on October 28, 2020

PIVOT – Marcy Style – Part 1

Today’s answer for everything…”just pivot.”

Just how do you pivot to jump-start fundraising and life growth?


Ever seen a pivot? My first image is that marvelous quarter-mile long,

Pivot in Wisconsin

spider-like metal creature that rolls over 100 acres of corn, onions, wheat or other crops spraying water. The center-pivot allows the arm to rotate to some degree around it.  It grows food and that’s a good thing.  Farmers are constantly tweaking their pivots for optimal crop production. 

Hmmmm. Something to learn there.

With my band, our dancers are well familiar with pivoting….it’s how you shift your weight to change direction…especially in line-dancing. Without pivoting your moves are limited. You can quarter pivot, or full pivot.  It’s easier to lose your balance in a full pivot than a quarter-turn pivot.

Hmmmm. Something to learn there. Marcy line dancing on the beach.

line dancing on beach

So let’s pivot – Marcy style.

(and here’s a worksheet to help you)

P = Persistence – gracious persistence. Often shipwrecks occur mere miles from the shore.  Generally success is the result of simply persevering. Gracious persistence is the art of gently teasing out your donors’ unique fears and beliefs in these times (and frankly, in all times) while continuing to connect, care and have giving conversations. Don’t make excuses.

I = Information and Innovation.  You need both. Drop being offended. Be curious about others – NOT judgmental.  Lift yourself up to a level that wants to know what led them to feel like they feel? How do their life experiences, values and beliefs influence their engagement with your mission? Where are you getting stuck in, “we’ve always done it this way?”

Rarely do we pivot for the hell of it. Failure is the unwillingness to learn and change based on better information. Generally something, like our “new normal” or poor results, or complaints, is pushing us. “We’ve been thinking for years that our annual gala wasn’t working. Now we have to change it.” Better, moving forward, constantly seek and listen to feedback. These times are a universal “kick in the butt’ to do things differently instead of repeating what has been.

North Star

V = Vision. Your North Star. Your Big Why. Have you drifted from what really matters?  We get lazy. We lose our zeal for why what we do matters. We settle. This leads to desperation because we suddenly find we are no longer essential and relevant to others. We MUST AT ALL TIMES see tomorrow AND see three to five years from now. What we are asking for today must play into a solid future our donors can connect with.

O = Optimism.  We become what we think about. (Earl Nightingale) We cannot stop icky things from happening. We cannot ban sadness or loss from our lives.  We cannot pass a law or riot to change hearts. But we do have the power to rise above anger, rise about our circumstances and rise above hate (Nelson Mandela) instead of rising against these things. Each and every day, our determination to be the bright spot for others, the best call of their day, the positive presence in their life will have eternal impact.

T = Take Action.  (ok, I couldn’t find a “T” word I liked) Just like a full pivot can throw you off balance dancing, much of what you are doing is solid, and small tweaks will make a big difference. While many of our pivots have been thrust upon us, there is a really exciting place between, “It will never be the same again” and “Let’s just throw everything out.” Much will never change. Generosity. Faith. Hope. The need for human contact. Fear is crippling and shuts us down. Fear leads us to saying, “It won’t work” “They don’t want to hear from me now.” “Year-end results will be down.”  Small pivots are needed. Too many pivots have your going in a circle (just look at the irrigation pivot). But take action! Try something different to connect, to engage, to learn how a donor wants to help. Keep taking action! One call, one text, one email more. 

I’m so proud of you, and I am here for you.

All around you people are different – you have to navigate every relationship like it was brand new. Even those you have known “forever” may react to our current times in ways surprising to you. Yet you are continuing on – from where ever the office is these days, with the cat or dog or kids in the scene and you are pushing past the fear and raising more money to do more good. 

Thank you and Bravo!

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