When You Believe, You’ll Be Believed

by Marcy Heim on October 13, 2017

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Oprah Winfrey said, “Our beliefs can move us forward in life, or they can hold us back.”

As we head into year-end, your beliefs will indeed play a major role in your results. I believe more than any other time of year if you believe in what you can accomplish between now and December 31st, you will attract an audience! Believe and achieve!

Let me share a story about the power of believing. 

As a faculty member in the new “Fundraising and Development for Nonprofits” course, Center for Nonprofit Leadership, School of Human Ecology (SoHE), University of Wisconsin, I was treated to a tour of the class site by Nancy Nicholas Hall. Bobette Heller, Associate VP of Development, SoHE led the fundraising for the $59 million project – $21 million to be raised from private gifts. SoHE is one of the smaller schools and colleges within the large UW-Madison. This goal seemed impossible. “We were not raising gifts at this level. We really didn’t have the numbers needed to take on a project like this.” There were those who said, “You can’t do this.” But take it on they did and Nancy Nicholas, a 1955 grad of the school, launched the drive with an $8 million lead gift. But now what?

An idea…a 100 Women Wall of Honor recognizing women who embody the school’s mission to improve the quality of human life. With a gift of $100,000, an honoree becomes part of the Wall of Honor.  But they didn’t even have 100 ideas!

Wall of Women

Today, instead of generating the hoped-for $10 million, over $37 million in gifts to the school have been received by adding women to this wall. This wall is displayed in the first building on campus named for a woman.  Each story is an amazing tale of partnerships forming to create the honor on the wall. Bobette has been in this spot for 17 years and stands next to the “campaign honor wall” created from generosity and seats from the original auditorium – if you look, you will see her name.

Why was it a success? Bobette, Nancy Nicholas and the two key Deans, Robin Douthitt and current Dean Soyeon Shim believed. 


When you believe Marcy

You have to SEE something and believe in what you see.

You have to believe that this is the best possible investment for your prospective givers to consider.

You have to believe that giving to your mission will give your contributors the chance to do something significant with their financial success – $25 dollars or $25 million.

You have to believe your results WILL compose a good world.

You have to believe your vision is right – not fixed, but right.

You have to stop being a victim and blaming your board, your database, your spouse, your ED, your multiple responsibilities, whatever – for your results or lack of results.  

You have to stop justifying your results with excuses like, “We aren’t getting the same federal grants we used to,” or, “Our key donor died.”  

You have to see the enhanced service you are delivering as a result of increasing giving.

You have to see where you can be and believe it is possible to get there!

But let me be crystal clear, believing is only the first step. Sitting around believing will not get the job done. It’s just the start.

It’s not enough to see the results private gift partnerships can create for your mission. It’s not enough to want people to invest.

You have to declare that you are going to create these results.  

You have to SEE something and SAY something.

That means that even if you don’t have many, or any, of the perceived puzzle pieces, and you can’t quite figure out HOW this picture will form, you press on anyway!  You must guide your mind.

You have to SAY that this will be amazing!

You have to tell, again and again, what these results will accomplish.

You have to ban the negative out of your head and your conversations, “You can’t really do this. This is going to be a challenging campaign. You really don’t have the pieces in place to get this done.”  

What you SEE, What you SAY, creates your focus and what you focus on you attract into your life; AND you GROW IN YOUR LIFE.

If you SEE only the challenges, the perceived limitations, the lack, and you SAY (complain) about these, you will grow them. You will attract more challenges, more limitations and more troubles into your life.

True story.  An ED client told me at the onset of our campaign work that we would only raise $1.2 million or so of the of the $3 million we needed. Best as I could do to push a new result into the minds of our givers, truly I witnessed her bringing expectations DOWN. She got her expected result.  That’s what I describe as not being coachable.

But when you SEE something and BELIEVE, then SAY something, it inspires you to take positive action – even when the “How” is not crystal clear! Your actions create your results.

SEE something. SAY something. DO something!

When you believe, you will be believed and others will join you on the path to your desired results.
Onward to incredible success!

Invest in Joy,

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Artful Asker

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 Cathy Yerges at Cathy@MarcyHeim.com



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