Verity two: success is always coupled with perseverance

Written by
Jerold Panas
August 07, 2013

Unrelenting persistence is a key element.

George Sand was no fundraiser. But in one of her famous letters, she wrote quite a remarkable definition of success appropriate to our field: ‘ . . . simple taste, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point and love of work. And most important, determination and patience. Persistence and perseverance.’

Success is elusive. It is never fully achieved or final. Nor is failure completely flawed or total.

But the highest level of success depends on the courage to pursue the chase with diligence.

Several years ago, winners of the Horatio Alger awards in the USA for outstanding accomplishments in business were asked by a reporter to name the factors that contributed to their success. Their response was: ‘Faith, hard work, belief in people and service to others.’

Then the reporter dug deeper. He found that the most important factors were: motivation, inner-drive and persistence. They said persistence is the final payoff.

Those Horatio Alger winners, they could all have been fundraisers.

We in fundraising understand that success is a long race, conducted in inches. We face rejection and refusal head-on and respond with even greater dedication and determination.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. I’m reminded of the Frank Sinatra refrain: ‘Every time you find yourself flat on your face, pick yourself up and get back in the race.’ Persistence is the song you sing.

About the author: Jerold Panas

Jerold Panas

Jerold Panas has been professionally involved in fundraising for over 40 years. He combines his understanding and experience with a special talent for strategic planning, major gifts and volunteer development.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars and a regular contributor to professional journals. Dr Panas is regarded as an author of particular note and his books are considered amongst the most significant in the field.

In 2013, he received the coveted lifetime achievement award for his contribution to philanthropy and fundraising. In 2011, the Cultural Office of Mexico cited him for his contribution to the nation’s philanthropy.

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