Comfort Zone Treadmill

Are You Sure You’re Ready to Excel?

If you continue to do things in the same manner you have always done them, your results are not going to change. Continuing to do things the same old way basically puts you on a treadmill where continuous, ineffective effort and lackluster results flow in a endless loop.

It is time to re-examine your belief system. This article offers some ideas guaranteed to get you off that treadmill, to put money in your organization’s pocket, and help you become the consummate professional you want to be.

As 2011 came to an end, you promised yourself that 2012 would be better. It would be a year of accomplishment; a year of achievement both for you and your organization. However, as you now review 2012 to date, are you finding your results mirror those of 2011?

Let’s start with some brutal facts:

  • Encouraging economic news may put a smile on the faces of fundraising professionals, but it belies what is actually occurring in our marketplace.
  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s most recent “Philanthropy 400” survey shows the economic rollercoaster has caused donative intent to languish at a time when organizational expenditures are outpacing revenues.
  • This survey shows that 71% of the respondents will not see an increase in giving.
  • Imbedded in this number is at least a 3% decrease that 64 respondents expect to realize.
  • Out of the 400 organizations surveyed, just 92 expect an increase in giving.

When one factors in the 11% decline from the 2009 survey, it’s clear the industry has a sore that just won’t heal.

How do you break yourself free of this bad-news spiral?

Try a Thought Experiment

Our behavior patterns are dictated by our beliefs, which can be either empowering or limiting. An example of such a limiting belief might be, “Gifts of real estate are too complicated and time-consuming for me to pursue.” If you continue to follow limiting beliefs, you will be narrowing your own range of opportunities, blocking your own pathways to success, and closing the door on results for yourself and your organization.

Imagine for a moment that you are looking back in time and evaluating how you went about your business. You see your “victories,” your “errors” and the times you wish you had a “do over.”

  • During good times, things seemed to work effortlessly; goals were reached; new benchmarks were created; your clients and organizations were thrilled.
  • You marveled at your successes and gave yourself that perfunctory pat on the back.
  • When the economy turned, and your goals went wanting, your clients and organization demanded results.
  • Remember what you said? “What, don’t you know it’s the economy? Don’t you know our donors are afraid to commit? Look at all the uncertainty in the marketplace.”
  • Never once did you think about looking; about vetting; about questioning how you performed your business. The fundamental attribution error compelled you to find cover and make excuses.

You see, when things go right we take all the credit. When things go wrong, it is never our fault.

Lemmings Are Unsuccessful

I suppose that there is a kind of security in succumbing to peer pressure and doing things the same way as other fundraisers. But it’s the kind of togetherness a herd of lemmings feels as they plunge over a cliff together.

Planned giving professionals generally limit their fundraising efforts to seeking cash, stock or other liquid assets. This is because they share the belief that those asset classes, because of their respective liquidity features, yield the quickest result.

This begs the question: Is quick always better?

Asking this kind of question is what a proactive approach to fundraising is all about. If we don’t ask them, we’re abandoning the search for a different – and better – way. And that’s why so many fundraisers suffer from what I call “real estate blindness.”

Real Results with Real Estate

Many purposely ignore this asset class because it does not yield quick results and could be a minefield for the uninitiated. Open your eyes! Real estate donations can represent over a hundred billion-dollar opportunity for you.

Consider the Triple Win Real Estate Triangulation Model:

  1. Your organization will have an increase in fundraising revenue;
  2. The donors’ capital gains tax can be eliminated;
  3. The ultimate purchaser can obtain off market property at a below market price point.

Reverse your real estate blindness by embracing this asset class. It will provide you with another arrow in your quiver to fight declining fundraising performance, and help you step up to a healthier and wealthier professional life.

Dennis Haber is a real estate broker and General Counsel to the Rubicon Property in NYC, as well as being a frequently-published author. He can be contacted at


Category: Planned Giving Marketing

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