You can complete tasks and cross off items on your to-do list. Success.
You can implement an event that participants evaluate as a wonderful evening. Success.
You can accurately claim that giving to your institution over the last year increased by some huge percentage. Success.
But, while you may claim success, can you also claim significance?
Significance means that what you are doing matters. It means that you are “moving the needle” in a meaningful way.
You may get many things done and your to-do list may be covered with check marks. But are these items busy-work or does your to-do list have items that are helping to transform your institution?
Your event may have been evaluated as a 10 out of 10. But were the participants of this event the people of influence and affluence who are willing to help advance your institution in consequential ways?
Your fundraising totals may be up year-to-date, but is this philanthropy transforming lives?
How would you feel if your to-do list had fewer checks on it, but those items you achieved were noteworthy? If your event scored only a 7 out of 10, but participants of influence and affluence offered to help cultivate other major gift prospects? If your fundraising totals were up only marginally this year, but you increased the number of donors substantially and you had far fewer matured bequests?
By some standards, you haven’t been as successful. But your work has been more significant.
I would rather be unsuccessful and significant than successful and insignificant.