Institute for Charitable Giving

High Degree of Self-Confidence

All of the great fundraisers have a high degree of self-confidence. They are as assured, as the saying goes, as a Methodist with four aces. When they pray for rain— they are so confident, they take an umbrella with them.

Bill Bradley is a Hall of Fame basketball player and former United States Senator. He said: “I might lose because I wasn’t tall enough. I might lose because I wasn’t fast enough. But I wasn’t going to lose because I wasn’t ready, working hard, and supremely confident that I could win.” The great fundraisers have that same sense of confidence.

When I spoke to Bruce Heilman, former President of the University of Richmond, he said, “The quality I look for in a great fundraiser is not necessarily presence— although I feel that’s important. And I don’t look for brilliancy— although you want someone who is savvy and has street smarts. And I don’t care if they are dazzling in their presentation.

“What I look for is a strong sense of self-confidence. I feel that is most important.”

The Talmud provides an excellent illustration of what it means to have confidence. It shows how important confidence is.

When the Hebrews were crossing the Red Sea, God told Moses to raise his staff and He said then the waters would open.

But, the Talmud says, when Moses raised his staff, the waters didn’t open.

Only when the first Hebrew jumped into the waters did they separate.  At that very moment, they opened.

The point of all this is that nothing works unless someone jumps— and has the confidence to jump.


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