“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you something great will come of it.”

This is a line from a new movie called “We Bought a Zoo.”

I saw the preview weeks ago and I can’t get that phrase out of my head.  Maybe because I’m wrestling with a few fears right now and I keep thinking about what difference 20 seconds of insane courage would make.

If you think about it, we have lots of fears: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of (fill in the blank).  As nonprofit Fundraisers, we have lots of fears too, like

  • Fear of asking for a gift and being told “no.”
  • Fear of not making our campaign goals.
  • Fear of not making budget.
  • Fear of what our friends will think if we ask them to support our cause.
  • Fear of not being accepted and approved of by our boss or our Board.
  • Fear of offending our donors by sending too many appeal letters.
  • Fear of wasting money by trying something new.
  • Fear of trying something like Facebook or mobile giving because we don’t understand it.Live less out of habit

Fear is just worrying about what might happen.  It’s all in our head and can be overcome by a number of techniques.  Right now, the one that’s working for me is to think about what I can do with 20 seconds of insane courage.  In the past few days, I’ve overcome my fears and made things happen because of that.

If you are a Fraidy Cat, and you hide behind your fears, don’t expect to be successful in fundraising.  If you want to get serious about raising big money for your nonprofit, you must work through your fears.  I’ve heard it said that your organization is only as strong as the people who work there, and I believe it.  So, to raise more money, you have to learn to put your fears aside and do what must be done.

What can YOU do with 20 seconds of insane courage? 

Can you pick up the phone and make an appointment with a donor?  Can you push on toward a campaign goal?  Can you plan fundraising campaigns now event though naysayers advise against it?

I’d love to know what you think, and if you decide to use the 20 seconds, what happens for you!  Be sure to come back here and share.



  1. One technique to overcome fear that’s worked well for me is to create a system to handle those things I’m fearful of. Cold calls fall in to that category for me. If I have a script in front of me and make the first call, the rest seem to fall into place. I can’t remember who said it, but I’ve heard that sometimes we just need to ‘fail forward’ – the first attempt is hardly ever perfect, but we learn and make each attempt a little better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>