The Danger of Success

Is there danger in success? There sure is. In life, and in fundraising, success risks complacency.

When we succeed, the natural tendency is to rest in the good times and the good things we’ve built. But we often forget what brought us to success in the first place – all the work, discipline and time it has taken to build the momentum. When we stop building momentum, we stop innovating and (usually unconsciously) begin to believe that this success will last forever.

Jesus tells a story of a man who hits the big time with a bumper crop. Believing the hype about himself, he builds some more barns to store all his new stuff and then kicks back to relax. Unfortunately, his presumption about inevitable future success without ongoing kingdom investment is cut short by the reality of his death.

Although the timeline is often longer than a day, that rise and fall can be true for fundraising too. Unwillingness to continue the investment and hard work that brought the success in the first place is usually where initial decline begins for most organisations; even if only gradually in the beginning.

There’s no set-and-forget option to enable your ministry success – it takes ongoing investment into the right things. It’s being open to wise counsel and being accountable on the small things that lead to success. It’s finding joy in innovation. It’s about staying passionate and consistent in your relationship-building activity.

The greatest and most sustainable success we’ve seen is found in the relentless execution of basics, like connecting with people each month with a relevant message, remembering why your supporters first signed up for the mission you represent, and aligning everything under that why.

If you’re winning, that’s great news and I celebrate with you. Just remember what it took to get there and be real about what success actually looks like – the attainment of all that God has called you to.


More Insights from Dunham+Company: “The Securalisation of Ministry”

Ready to take the next step? Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters.

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