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Ambition in the Nonprofit World

Beware the fly swatters…

In the business world, ambition is admired … in the right dose, of course. Too much and you’re an arrogant bastard. Too little, and you’re a pansy. It gets even more delicate in the planned giving and non-profit world.

Ambition, in our world, is offensive.

Throw in determination, and you’re irritating, as well.

If you are an ambitious gift planner, determined to meet big goals, think outside the box, and succeed, you will have critics. Even enemies. If you have not experienced this, you are either blissfully unaware or … frankly, not all that ambitious.

Here’s the problem: your ambition reminds the unambitious that they are lazy, timid, insecure, too nice, or all of the above. Your determination annoys them. You’re the worker bee, busy collecting pollen, making honey, stinging people who get in your way (just kidding about that last one). Meanwhile, they’re trying to kick back on the deck with an ice cold Sam Adams. They want to swat you and stop your buzzing so they can get back to their nap.

Beware the fly swatters.

I’m here to tell you that your ambition is admirable. And I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. Surround yourself with others who want to be successful. Who want to win. Who want a strong leader, not just a schmoozer.

To be successful—whether in business, the non-profit sector, the pottery studio, or the hockey rink—ambition is a must. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Their criticism is a toxic mix of resentment and envy.

Planned giving is an exciting field and getting more exciting every year. Here’s to ambition! Here’s to your success! (*Clink* go the Sam Adams bottles.)

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