Several years ago, I was working with a client on their annual year-end giving campaign while also developing their overall fundraising program.
One day as I was messaging with one of the team members, I excitedly made a comment about expanding the goal for year-end and how it was totally doable, and he said, “That's the Julie way.”
I'll admit that at first, I was like, “What?" I was a little taken aback and wasn't sure if this comment was a compliment or a criticism. So, I laughed a little uncomfortable laugh and said, “What do you mean by that?”
And this was his answer: “When I was 25 and drunk, I thought I could achieve anything. That's pretty much the Julie way.”
After I finished laughing until I almost cried, I really thought about his unusual but interesting compliment.
First, he was right. When we are young and uninhibited (from alcohol or in general - lol), we are bold and risk-taking. We aren’t afraid of trying something new because our optimism hasn’t been suppressed by years of “no,” “it's not possible,” or “we've tried that before.” We’re excited about the tasks before us and the possibility of making an impact.
He was saying my approach to fundraising was the same. To him, “the Julie way” is my belief that the organization could achieve anything with a well-executed plan – even increasing year-end campaign goals by 30% in the final stretch of the push.
It was a great compliment. And he was right.
Stretch goals excite me. Thoughtful donor engagement is my jam. Fundraising teams that plan their work and then work their plans are UNSTOPPABLE. And you won’t change my mind about that.
When I entered the nonprofit sector in 2010, there were days when I felt the weight of imposter syndrome because an idea failed, but the wins kept me going. And there were a lot more wins than failures because I approached each task with enthusiasm.
I realized early on, as a development director and later an executive director, that enthusiasm is 90% of fundraising. You have to be passionate about the work you are doing and, in turn, have the ability to convey that passion to donors and other supporters.
When people tell me they hate fundraising because they don't like asking for money, I gently push back and say, “Yes, but if you're truly passionate about your mission, you should WANT to share the good you are doing, and asking shouldn't be hard.”
I never had a problem asking for money because I truly believed the mission of our organization was critical and deserving of funding. And I always went into an ask assuming I would hear “yes.”
That's because Positivity and Passion are key to The Julie Way.
If you or your organization needs an influx of positivity and passion, I'd love to work with you and infuse your fundraising with a little of The Julie Way. Whether you need help with refreshing a campaign that has become mundane or a plan to take your fundraising strategy to the next level, reach out. I will bring the energy and ideas; together, we can make it rain for your mission! You can schedule a FREE 30-minute discovery call by clicking HERE. Millie and I look forward to hearing from you!