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Aggressive, Assertive or Neither?

Last year, a trusted associate told me that an individual who we both worked with found me to be aggressive. In my work in the nonprofit arena these past 25 years, this is only the second time I learned this from someone.

First, let’s look at the reality of nonprofit fundraising:

The National Center for Charitable Statistics states that today there are 1,571,056 tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private foundations and membership organizations, which represents a nearly 50% increase in tax-exempt organizations since 2012. When I started working in the nonprofit realm in 1992, I believe there were approximately 500,000 tax-exempt organizations. Many charity employees believe that there isn’t competition in the charity world for donations and sponsorships. With the growing number of nonprofits each year and the fact that charitable giving is static and not increasing, there is competition amongst nonprofits for donations and sponsorships.

Secondly, let’s look at definitions for aggressive and assertive behavior:

According to Mountain State Centers for Independent Living, assertive behavior allows everyone to feel comfortable and safe, while aggressive people tend to seek control and get their way even if it means hurting others. Here’s an article by Karen Kleinschmidt: Aggressive Behavior Vs. Assertive Behavior

My recent work with educational nonprofits and schools has included strategic planning, the development of fundraising plans and fundraising. A nonprofit who I have helped in fundraising for the past three years has seen a dramatic increase in support…more than a doubling of support year-over-year. Additionally, in a very competitive industry, I have raised more than $32 million for nonprofits and schools these past 25 years.

I like this graphic entitled How to Sell Anything, especially the needed skill: Follow Up Until You Drop!

I believe that my success is more a matter of having a passion for those organizations I work for and being very organized. Back to the individual who viewed me as aggressive, I was following up with him/her on an agreed upon day and time. I believe this is more about being organized and not about being aggressive or assertive.

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