Forget about the competition

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

When I’m not thinking, writing or talking about fundraising (which is a lot of the time!), you’ll probably find me keeping busy with my other passion.


It was at the dance studio I first came across this great piece of wisdom, usually credited to Mikhail Baryshnikov:

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else.

I only try to dance better than myself.”

I love this quote because it applies to so many things in life – especially fundraising.

Us fundraisers spend too much time worrying – what other charities are we up against? Do they have a bigger piece of the fundraising pie than us? How can we compete with larger organizations with so many more resources than us?

This kind of scarcity mindset is one of the biggest scourges of our sector.

Certainly, being informed about what’s going on outside your organization is healthy – it’s important to stay aware of trends in your external environment, and up-to-date on new developments in fundraising.

But next time you find yourself wasting time sweating about your competition, take a breath, look in the mirror, and ask:

How can I fundraise better than myself?

How can I take better care of donors?

How can I find another opportunity to show them the incredible impact of their donation?

How can I make my fundraising more effective by telling more compelling stories?

Forget about the competition! If you channel that same energy into taking just one action that makes you a better fundraiser today than you were yesterday, you’ll always come out ahead.

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