Dare The Impossible

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Published February 29, 2016

Dare The Impossible

We’re doing a study for a college. The school is going through some difficult times.

Enrollment is down. Fundraising is flat. Faculty esprit isn’t what it should be.

As part of my examination, I talk with Trustees. One of my visits left an indelible impression on me.

“The trouble with us,” said the one Trustee, “is that we think small.

“The reason I gave $1 million to the museum in town and only $100,000 to the college is— the college never gave me a million dollar idea.”

In my 40 years of fundraising, I’ve never met anyone who simply wanted to give money away. They want to give to bold, electrifying programs.

It starts with an intrepid CEO. But you also need a Board that is audacious. Trustees who are willing to leave shore and understand they may not see land again for a long time.

If Columbus had decided to turn back and return home, no one would have blamed him. And no one would have remembered him either.

At my Seminars, I love telling the story of the Bishop of Seville who in the early 1500s said to his congregation, “Let us build a cathedral so beautiful and so great that those who follow will think us mad for having made the attempt.” That congregation didn’t know that it couldn’t be done. So they went ahead and did it.

Let your hymn be: Dare, Decide, Do.



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