Don’t Let Your Good Get in the Way of Being Great | npENGAGE

Don’t Let Your Good Get in the Way of Being Great

By on Dec 3, 2013


This is year I’ve become obsessed with Jim Collin’s book Good to Great.  I was hooked from the first sentence: Good is the enemy of great.  It’s so true. It’s easy to be good, rest on our laurels and become complacent.  But, to be great means you have to keep pushing.  You have to stay hungry, never be satisfied and always want more.

A few weeks ago in a post game press conference, Baltimore Raven safety James Ihedigbo shared this: don’t let your good get in the way of being great. I love it! As a Ravens fanatic, you know I was in awe when my latest obsession connected with one of my passions. The more I thought about this the more I realized that of course this has to be professional athletes’ creed. No one ever won a championship because they were good.  You don’t make it into the hall of fame for being good. Good is never enough.

It’s really easy to let your good get in the way of being great.  We’re busy.  We need to complete tasks; we need to check boxes off our to-do lists… bottom line the job just needs to get done.  But, when we operate in this get it done mentality often we don’t reap the rewards we hoped for.  You don’t get great results from good effort.

This morning, I was talking to one of my buddies at a national nonprofit and she reminded of a major factor that gets in the way of being great: executive management pressure.  She shared that while she knows it’s best to segment and target audiences this takes time. Results can take time.  Time is luxury she doesn’t have, which leads to ok results from a good message.

Now, we just uncovered the root cause.  What gets in our way of being great… our culture and the pressure to meet our budgets.  Do you agree?  Is our business model getting in our way of being great?

Greatness doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s a process.  Changing our industry’s mentality might be too big a problem to solve.  How about we start small?  If you don’t have time to segment your emails, how about creating great and more readable emails?

Shana Masterson, one of my fabulous fundraising friends, co-hosted a fun webinar on the do’s and don’ts of email for P2P boot camp.  Check it out. You can view the webinar on demand at  Simply click the link and complete the form to view the session. If you’re unable to create a segmented email campaign, lets create the best mass market appeals and leave out !! from subject lines, spell out words like you vs. using text speak and say bye-bye to clip art.  I know I’m being dramatic, but its #GivingTuesday and I did receive an email with ALL CAPS in the subject line.

If you missed P2P Boot Camp, we have you covered.  You can view the sessions on demand and our fabulous trainers will be answering your boot camp questions in subsequent blog posts.  For example:

  1. Should we reach out differently to participants who bring in higher quantities of gifts vs. those who bring in fewer but bigger gifts?
  2. How do you suggest turning participants into team captains?  Do you have ideas for turning individual participants into Team Captains vs. Team Members?

Thinking back to not letting your good get in the way of being great, something just hit me.  James chooses to strive for greatness.  The greats, the ones with bronze busts in the hall of fame, chose greatness.  They didn’t settle for good. Since good is the enemy of great, to achieve greatness you need to be great by choice. That’s why I’m now reading Jim Collin’s new book Great by Choice.


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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