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Hire the brave…those who move past their fear of falling (failing) and soar!

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

As a kid, I suffered through a lot of skinned knees. I ran too fast, I tripped, and the rest was bloody history.

I have a few falls that left me with scars, including a very large one on my knee from a ski accident.

Although I knew that sometimes I would fall, I never seemed to have enough fear to stop my trying.

In fact, the ski injury resulted from my attempt as a novice skier (I had taken skiing as a gym class in college), warming up to compete in a media ski race…WHAT WAS I THINKING??? (Take a look at that knee brace!)

Fear of Falling

Sometimes, I DO and THEN Think.

I don’t necessarily suggest this, especially when you are a teenager (you can believe I advise my children against making this mistake!).

Sometimes, since I’ve had practice with my own mistakes, I quickly calculate the risk and decide to take the chance.

Mostly, I believe that fear stands in your way and that the belief that you can do things (hard things, risky things, crazy things!) makes you stronger.

Let’s bring this back to Fundraisers.

A brave fundraiser (or at least one that can handle her fear) can and will

  • Be coachable and ready to try new ideas

  • Never fear the word NO. They have a jump-on-the-train attitude and worry about those on the train, not those who will not buy a ticket.

  • Be your team’s “New Donor” development mavericks. They are not afraid to make first calls or meetings.

  • Always ask questions from their manager or their donors

  • Be brave enough to start and see through a new idea

So, I have got you sold on hiring the brave - how do you find the fearless?


  • Don’t just interview fundraisers… sometimes the bravest future fundraisers are those who learned other skills in their last position(s)

  • Be specific with your questions…

    • What was the scariest thing you ever did in your professional life?

      • What drove you to do that?

      • What was the outcome?

    • Tell me about a successful project where you learned more as you were diving into the project?

    • How do you get over the fear of making “Cold Calls.”

    • What motivates you?

    • What techniques do you use to ask your prospects hard questions?

    • How have you managed rejection from prospects in your last position(s)?

Be direct…ask them if they feel they are coachable…ask them if they feel brave.

I also like to ask prospective fundraisers about their favorite teachers in High School and why they were their favorite.

  • It tells you what kind of coach they like and respect (not to mention that they respond to).

  • How did they respond to input and correction by someone “in charge”…Did they grow from this experience?

In case you were wondering, this is the best answer I ever got to this question.

“My favorite teacher was an art teacher I had for Pottery at Dreyfoos School of the Arts. If your pot was not perfectly shaped, he would use a pottery knife and cut off the top of your creation. I often started over just to prove I had learned how to do it right!”

Wow… She is now a Chief Development Officer!

And, if you need some help hiring and training your team to conquer their fears, reach out to Team Kat & Mouse. We are Nonprofit Consultants committed to teaching, coaching, and an extra set of hands!

Amy Mauser’s thoughts on overcoming fear

Great Quotes to pin on your wall about overcoming fear

"The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." --Nelson Mandela

"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it." --Judy Blume

"The key to change... is to let go of fear." --Roseanne Cash

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." --Louisa May Alcott

"Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back." --Babe Ruth

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