As I type, my dog, Millie, has her head in my lap.

She nudges my elbow every few seconds to get a few pets and looks up at me, ready at any second to GO OUTSIDE!

Everyone believes their dog is the smartest and cutest. I'm no different.

Millie (and every awesome dog) can teach us a thing or two about raising money, so we're launching a new blog series, Lessons from Millie.

LESSON 1: From Energy to Grit

Millie is an Energizer Bunny.

She's ready, at a moment's notice, to run - whether it's for work (chasing birds) or play (chasing birds).

Raising money requires Millie-sized energy!

Think about all of the verbs in your job:

  • raise money
  • get the visit
  • get out the door
  • travel
  • cold call donors
  • email donors
  • qualify
  • identify
  • cultivate
  • solicit
  • steward
  • write proposals
  • enter contact reports
  • manage relationships
  • manage your portfolio
  • manage volunteers
  • partner with directors/deans
  • raise more money

Whew! I'm exhausted from typing this list and I know you could add at least 10 more things to it. Truthfully, your job requires more than just energy. 

Raising money requires grit.

Psychologist, Angela Lee Duckworth, studies grit and its role in professional success. Check out her Ted talk. You can even take a University of Pennsylvania survey on how much grit you have here. (If you have even the tiniest bit of grit, you'll notice which answers are truly gritty).

In a New York Times interview, Angela said, "You cannot will yourself to be interested in something you’re not interested in. But you can actively discover and deepen your interest. So once you’ve fostered an interest, then, and only then, can you do the kind of difficult, effortful and sometimes frustrating practice that truly makes you better."

The best fundraisers have grit.

Amidst frequent rejection, constant uncertainty, unexpected outcomes and (mostly) unpredictable results, you have to be willing to dig in, try hard, mess up and do it all over again.

After more than a decade of fundraising, I still have very un-gritty moments. In fact, they are so very un-gritty, they're super smooth, squishy, marshmallowy moments in which I think, "I would be happier if I just had a job where I didn't have to think so damn hard and I could just punch the clock at 5PM and POOF! No thoughts of work would come into my calm, quiet brain until I punched back in at 8AM."

And then I remember who the hell I am.

I raise money.

You raise money.

We change the world.

Share your grit score below!