This time of year, lots of people are making resolutions.

Some people don’t want to commit to losing weight or changing their lives because they’re too busy, too tired, over-committed, etc.

These are excuses.

If you really want to change something about your life, you’ll find a way to do it. Period.

You see, an excuse is just a way to let yourself off the hook. It’s a way to justify your behavior.

For example, if your excuse is “I don’t have time to exercise” then you are simply justifying your behavior to not exercise.

The truth is that we make time for what’s important to us.

In fundraising, we use excuses too. When there’s something that seems hard we make an excuse so we don’t have to do it.

It’s what keeps us from truly excelling in fundraising, raising boatloads of money, and fully funding our mission.

Excuses keep us stuck in mediocre fundraising.

Here are some common excuses I’ve heard. See if any of these sound familiar:

  • “We don’t have any big donors.”
  • “Our Board won’t help with fundraising.”
  • “We tried direct mail (or fill in the blank) and it didn’t work.”
  • “I don’t have time to write grants (or fill in the blank).”
  • “Our mission isn’t sexy.”
  • “We’re not a big organization like (fill in the blank).”

Excuses will get in your way of improving your fundraising efforts.

They’ll keep you stuck where you are, and if you’re okay with where you are, then you can stop reading and go about your day.

If you want to be a better Fundraiser and raise more money for your nonprofit, you’ve got to ditch the excuses.

You’ve to to adopt a new attitude and take a “No Excuses Approach” to your work.

The business coach that I’m working with right now expects me to take a “No Excuses Approach” to my work.  I’ll tell you, it’s not always easy!  It requires my attention and some personal growth.  Some of my behaviors and habits are pretty ingrained.  But I know if I want to get better at what I do, I MUST change how I do things, no matter how painful the process might be.

I encourage you to start noticing the excuses you use in fundraising.  Keep a running list over the next week or so of every time something pops into your head or out of your mouth that supports mediocre fundraising.

Being aware is the first step in changing things.  Once you get a handle on what excuses you are using, you can start working on eliminating them.

  1. Sandy, your post reminds me of the Albert Einstein quote “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I love that! Dare to be different this year and open up the door to positive results!

  2. Sandy, every nonprofit organization’s staff and board should read your powerful post!

    Here’s my favorite line which I will borrow with your permission: “Excuses will get in your way of improving your fundraising efforts. They’ll keep you stuck where you are…”

    I’m a big fan of choosing communication that is positive and powerful. Thanks for a post that is both!

  3. Sandy, great reminder that we really are in charge of our success. I hear charity auction committees use excuses all the time. I can’t always be as bold as you are in your posts, but I am always challenging them to improve operations – often by ditching their excuses. You are so right, ditching our excuses usually requires some personal growth.

    Here’s to growth in 2011.

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