We All We Got. We All We Need.

How would you like to be a champion fundraising professional?

It’s simple. Not easy, but simple.

The Super Bowl LII Champion Philadelphia Eagles provide us with a great example of what it takes to be the best in any profession. While Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins — he’s also an entrepreneur and philanthropist — didn’t originate the sentiment, he articulated a statement that became a team slogan and nicely sums up the champion creed:

We all we got. We all we need.”

Let me explain.

To succeed, we need to recognize that all we truly can depend on is our team and ourselves. Furthermore, that’s often enough. More specifically, in the fundraising world, here’s what it means:

Build a strong team. Hire, or encourage your organization to hire, talented staff who believe passionately in the organization’s mission. Such people will almost always enjoy greater fundraising success than a hired mercenary who only wants a job and a paycheck. Remember, not only does your organization rely on the people it hires, so do you.

James Sinegal, Co-Founder of Costco says:

If you hire good people, give them good jobs, and pay them good wages, generally something good is going to happen.”

Enhance the team’s skills. Even talented, experienced people can enhance their skills. As professionals, we must never stop learning. We must always strive for improvement. This will make us more effective, and heighten our self-esteem. It will also keep us from getting bored.

Will Smith, an accomplished television and movie actor, continues to hone his craft and refuses to simply walk through his roles. As he says:

I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent, [but] what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.”

Recognize you can only control what you can control. As an example, you could have angst about whether the new tax code will have a negative impact on philanthropy. Or, you could examine the new code to see how you can leverage it for greater fundraising success. In other words, you can choose to worry about something over which you have no control, or you can decide to take steps to adapt to the new fundraising environment.

Self-help author Brian Tracy puts it this way:

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

Ignore the little voices in your head and outside your office. The little voice in your head will be happy to tell you why you won’t succeed at something. People will gladly line up around the block of your office to tell you why you shouldn’t do something. For example, how often have you heard the following: “Why waste time visiting with her? She’ll never make a big gift.” “Oh, that will never work here.” “Who else is doing it? Let’s wait to see how they do.” “That’s not the way we do things here.”

Regarding the Philadelphia Eagles, sportscasters told us this would only be a rebuilding season. Then, when the team had success, the pundits said the Eagles couldn’t win the NFC Championship. Then, when the birds won, the experts said there was no way the Eagles would beat the New England Patriots, especially without our star starting quarterback. Now, despite having defeated the Patriots, ESPN ranked Philadelphia number two, behind New England, for the 2018 season. Even as champs, the Eagles are still considered underdogs!

Guess what? The Eagles embraced their underdog status. Late in the season, some Eagles players exhibited their sense of humor by mocking the so-called experts by donning dog masks at the end of games. And the team kept winning.

Being an underdog takes away a great deal of pressure. Don’t misunderstand me. You’ll still want to win, and you’ll feel pressure to do so. But, that’s a different kind of pressure than being expected to win. So, when people tell you something can’t be done successfully, prepare to have fun surprising them.

Malcolm Gladwell, journalist and author, states it this way:

The fact of being an underdog changes people in ways that we often fail to appreciate. It opens doors and creates opportunities and enlightens and permits things that might otherwise have seemed unthinkable.”

Work hard. Once you assemble your team, acquire and hone the necessary skills, and develop the right mindset, there’s only one thing left for you to do: Work hard.

Conan O’Brien, late-night television talk-show host, says:

Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.”

Canadian Gold Medal Olympic sprinter Donovan Bailey says:

Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”

What you need to be a champion fundraiser you already possess. It’s in you. It’s in your colleagues. That’s something the Philadelphia Eagles understood. That’s what allowed them to prove the so-called experts wrong by winning Super Bowl LII.

Say it out loud:

We all we got. We all we need.”

Hey, consider starting your next staff meeting that way.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

7 Responses to “We All We Got. We All We Need.”

  1. Great Super Bowl tie-in!

  2. Congrats to your Eagles. They played a great game.

  3. Well said, Michael! Thank you for this reminder!

    • Theresa, thank you for taking the time to comment. I think it’s definitely empowering to remember that we have what it takes to be successful. Our success or failure is not in someone else’s hands.


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