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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  September 14, 2017

How Your Passion Can Blind You to Reality

Successful nonprofit leaders stand out in a sea of good causes by working smarter.

How do nonprofit organizations get new donors in a world where good causes (and great stories) are everywhere? Ellen Bristol, CEO of Bristol Strategies, and I drilled down on this question in a no-holds-barred interview.

We stumbled upon this big aha: Most small and medium-sized nonprofits start and run on passion to do good—to solve problems others are not willing to address. This is a good thing.

The flipside of the coin, though, is that sometimes that same drive creates a false sense of clarity. They assume this good cause is enough to attract new donors—that the only thing nonprofit leaders must to do is “tell their story.”

This is how blind spots are born. And this is how many good nonprofit leaders devolve into a “tin cup mentality” that can mark the beginning of the end.


Listen: Ellen and Vickie’s interview — Rethinking Nonprofit Branding


It doesn’t have to be this way. Some nonprofit leaders are so dedicated to the cause that they will go where angels fear to tread. This passion doesn’t blind them to the reality that donors get pitched all the time. They stand out in a sea of good causes by working smarter. By trying new things. By reaching out and asking for help.

Same passion, two different paths. All of us have a choice.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.