What we need from you

What we need from you isn’t better thinking, more analysis and caveats, the low-probability risks you’ve explored, and how you’ve smoothed the edges.

What we need from you is the fearlessness to put your best ideas out in the open,


for everyone to see.

Not more smarts, more courage.

Finding the line

A friend of mine, a great salesman, was giving advice to a colleague of mine who was new to fundraising.

His suggestion: if you don’t get thrown out of at least one meeting in your first year you’re not being bold enough in your asks.

This wasn’t conceptual advice – it meant actually physically being shown the door.

Now I admit in nearly six years of fundraising I haven’t actually been thrown out, but I’ve definitely made some pretty outrageous asks.  At the same time, until I actually find the line I don’t fully know where it is.

You could be fundraising, you could be a freelancer, you could be selling just about anything – 9 times out of 10 we all are less bold than we could be and should be.

Yes be respectful, always, but find the line.

Gumption and conviction

Some interview questions to get at the important stuff:

“What grounds you?”

“What are you best at?”

“Tell me about at time you changed someone’s mind.”

“At your core, what makes you tick?”

“What does generosity mean to you?”

Degrees and smarts are nice, but they’re almost easy to come by.   Being the kind of person who drives and leads (no matter what your job title) is much more compelling.