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The Bridge Conference has helped fundraising professionals build a bridge between themselves and donors for almost 20 years. Tension was able to return this year and exhibit in person for the first time since 2019. This year’s theme, “Changemakers Unite,” perfectly ties together the impact that fundraisers can have.

The opening keynote speaker was Kim Becking, best-selling author and change and leadership expert. Her presentation, “Build a Momentum Mindset,” set the stage for “changemakers” to “unite” and shift their perspective. In Becking’s address, she said there are four keys to building a momentum mindset.

“Life is to be lived, not controlled.”

Key #1: Resign as General Manager of the Universe

The impacts of the pandemic continue to influence and test nonprofit fundraising strategies. Resigning as the “general manager of the universe” means to not only let go of the need for total control, but in part to accept that there is no pre-pandemic “normal” to go back to. Becking says, “There is no new normal. There’s only now and what is next.” The question fundraisers must ask themselves now becomes: How can you be ready for what is next as a changemaker? Remaining adaptable is going to be critical as marketers and fundraisers move forward.

“Taking the lessons that you have learned with you, to not just bounce back but to bounce forward.”

Key #2: Identify and Overcome Momentum Busters

Momentum busters are the things that keep you from achieving your goals. Becking says that one of our biggest momentum busters is actually ourselves, or our “inner bully.” To help us overcome momentum busters, Becking shared a technique called, “Stop. Shift. Reframe.” When faced with a momentum buster we first need to stop and recognize that our mindset might be interfering with achieving our goals. Then, instead of focusing on all the things we don’t have control over, we should shift that focus to what we do have control over. The last step is to reframe what a failure is. Failure can be freeing and gives permission to be more innovative and to think differently. Start thinking about what the “no’s” can teach you, and how you can move forward with your purpose.

“How you show up as a changemaker matters.”

Key #3: Build Connection, Collaboration and Community

Connecting on a deeper level with people bridges the gap between us. How can you make sure you’re making deeper connections? The answer is simple: it takes time, and you have to make the time. Becking makes the time to connect by texting three random people a day to check in and see how they’re doing. These are family members, colleagues, and professional acquaintances. Becking’s techniques for staying connected is lifting each other up to R.I.S.E. (Recognize, Invest, Support, Engage and Empower). Letting people know that they’re valued is a substantial way to build a deeper connection.

“Thoughts matter. Words matter. Actions matter. Attitude matters.”

Key #4: Keep Positive and Stay Grounded in Optimism

Changing your outlook will lay the groundwork to a successful nonprofit fundraising campaign. Taking the technique from earlier, “Stop. Shift. Reframe,” say to yourself, “I get to do ‘this’,” instead of “I have to do ‘this’.” Becking suggests that staying grounded in optimism comes down to the little everyday things, so it is important to celebrate the little wins and stay grateful for what went right instead of focusing on what went wrong. However, staying grounded in optimism alone is not a strategy; there must be an action. That action creates the momentum that leads to the greatest impact and the best results possible. It all starts with the right mindset.

Let’s Connect Again!

Tension is grateful to the organizers of the Bridge who gave us the opportunity to be part of the larger philanthropy movement. Thank you to those of you that stopped by our booth and visited with us. Please contact us to see how Tension can help you with your next direct mail campaign. We look forward to seeing you next year!