As I See It | Anne S. Robillard, CFRE  | Associate

The Four Minute Mile: Making the Impossible Possible

Whether you are a runner, marathon participant, or your “heart just races” at times, there are lessons we can learn as fundraisers from people who train to perform with the speed of their feet.

We all know how important planning, preparing and executing are in fundraising. We methodically develop a fundraising goal and then meticulously plot a course to achieve it. In much the same way, track enthusiasts plan, prepare and execute. I marvel at marathon runners who think of how they will run twenty-six miles without passing out. Recently, I was further intrigued by an article that emphasized the importance of “running the mile you’re inand after that, the next mile. It goes to show how important celebrating milestones along the way is to any of us, whether in a capital campaign form of marathon or as a person who dons the best running shoes to get into the race 

Similarly, running a mile in four minutes was deemed impossible over the decades; health professionals went on record saying that it was physically too demanding on the heart. That was until Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954. Guess what! After Roger, 18 more track stars did the same over the next year. Bannister believed it was possible!  

Inspiration for Fundraisers

All this to say, as we fundraisers are dealing with the marathon of fundraising for 2020 and beyond, let’s remember to focus on the mile we are in right now. I’m betting 100% it’s not the “mile” you thought you’d be in a year ago. Undoubtably, this year has and will continue to challenge us both personally and professionally. But it’s where we are. Runners have it easy compared to us when their “mile” may have a rainstorm or literal bump in the road.  

Yet, for both fundraisers and runners, resiliency, belief and commitment are the difference makers. You declare success when you finish your “mile” by securing and nurturing donor relationships. In this “impossible” time we’re in, YOU ARE matching donors passions with the needs of your nonprofits, making the achievement of organizational missions possible and real.   

Because of the nature of a nonprofit, your finish line doesn’t have tape to break through.  Yet, we at M.Gale & Associates cheer you on, applaud your milestones, and celebrate your fundraising successes. Finish that mile you’re in!  

About the Author

Anne Robillard applies 30 years of experience in sales and marketing to fortify her work with M. Gale & Associates nonprofit clients. Over the years, she has worked with a wide variety of clients, from healthcare to museums to those that provide much-needed community resources. Prior to joining M. Gale & Associates, Anne served in various marketing and sales positions for Fort Worth Country Day School, The University of Texas at Arlington, Kinko’s, and IBM. Anne approaches her work with the mindset that consulting is an art and a science – there are processes and steps to take in client work, and each client engagement warrants customization unique to its needs and culture. Anne is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and she is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She has served in many volunteer leadership roles on UT councils, including chairing the McCombs School Associates Council of the Center for Leadership & Ethics. She was a member of the board of directors of the Dallas chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals from 2015-2019.

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