As fundraising professionals, we strive to be the most effective we can be. But, what does it take to be better than a good fundraiser? What does it take to be a champion fundraising professional?
To become a champion, it’s wise to seek the advice of champions. Recently, soccer star Carli Lloyd shared three fundamental tips for success with young athletes. Her advice is just as meaningful for fundraisers.
Before I share Lloyd’s tips with you, let me highlight why I think it’s worth paying attention to what she has to say. (I also want to point out, for my international readers, that “soccer” is how Americans refer to what you call “football.”
Carli Lloyd is a soccer superstar. She was a member of the US national women’s soccer team that won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship. In the final FIFA game, Lloyd scored three goals leading Team USA to a 5 – 2 victory over Japan. In addition, Lloyd is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who scored the winning goals in the finals of both the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Lloyd knows what it takes to win. And she recently shared her knowledge with 200 young athletes at the Universal Soccer Academy in Lumberton, NJ where she had trained for a dozen years. Lloyd has taught young girls at the camp on eight occasions.
Here are three of her key tips:
1. “Practice.” Since Lloyd is an Olympic and World Cup champion, you might think she no longer needs to practice hard. After all, she’s already at the top of her game. Well, to get and stay at the top, Lloyd still practices between two and six hours a day to learn new techniques and hone her skills.
Just as there’s no such thing as a natural-born soccer player, there’s no such thing as a natural-born fundraiser. You have to learn the necessary skills, gain experience, and practice what you’ve learned.
Reading professional books, publications, and blogs; participating in webinars, workshops, and conferences; and working with a mentor are just some of the ways fundraisers can build their skills. Writing appeal letters or proposals and having them critiqued by a senior professional is one way to hone your skills. Role-playing a major donor visit is also a great way to enhance your skills before sitting down with an important prospect.
The key to being a champion is to always seek new knowledge and practice your skills no matter how good you are already. You can always improve.