Uplifting Lasso Lessons for Campaign Leadership

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Uplifting Lasso Lessons for Campaign Leadership

Uplifting Lasso Lessons for Campaign Leadership

By Clare Jordan

June 2024


There’s an old mantra we occasionally recite at CapDev: “There’s no pain like a campaign.”


You know who else has lots of mantras? Ted Lasso.


Whether you watched the show or not, his character has plenty of wise words to offer, and much of it is applicable to our work in philanthropic leadership.

Here is a sampling of some favorites and related advice and encouragement to nonprofit campaign leaders:


“Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”

Saying yes to campaign leadership can be daunting. It sometimes places those who mean the most to a nonprofit in uncomfortable roles. Usually out of that discomfort, however, comes the best rewards.


“I do love a locker room. It smells like potential.”

The same could be said of boardrooms. Though it sometimes feels like we drag ourselves into meeting after meeting, with the right mindset and encouragement of a strong team, the “sweat” we work up, envisioning and strategizing campaign goals, delivers winning results.


“It may not work out how you think it will or how you hope it does. But believe me, it will all work out.”

Goal setting itself is risky business. Yet we often say that nothing good comes without some element of risk. The process of coming to consensus around key priorities and committing to visionary plans can be more impactful than the plan itself. Believe in the process and the people behind it, and the outcome will work out.


“I think that if you care about someone and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together.”

The campaign team is the most essential element of any campaign’s success. The staff and volunteers leading the initiative assume the giant responsibility of securing support for a nonprofit’s vision, and they put themselves on the line with friends and colleagues to advocate on behalf of the project. You can’t do this without caring, and the strongest teams are made stronger through their care – not only for the cause, but for one another as well.


“I think things come into our lives to help us get from one place to a better one.”

Another element that is critical to campaign success is solid, reliable campaign counsel, bringing expertise to guide and direct the campaign. The best consultant will enter the life of the nonprofit, joining as a respected member of the team, and leave it better than they found it.


“As the man once said, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get.'”

Every nonprofit fundraiser has been met with a “no” at some point. Don’t be discouraged, as we all know that “no” doesn’t always mean no but can be an invitation to persevere and find a new path to a “yes.” Do your homework ahead of an ask and keep asking. Don’t let one person’s “no” deter you. Campaign success comes through determination and good planning, and maybe a little luck.


“You beating yourself up is like Woody Allen playing the clarinet. I don’t wanna hear it.”

There will be tough challenges in any campaign, but the best leaders overcome them with grace and a positive outlook. Resist the temptation to complain and instead approach roadblocks as opportunities for new perspectives and innovation.


“You say impossible, but all I hear is ‘I’m possible.'”

Campaign goals are ambitious by nature, but not impossible with the right team. As you assemble your campaign team, be sure you are recruiting asset-based thinkers who can bring inventive ideas and strategies to tell your story and attract supporters, including campaign volunteers, staff, and campaign consultants.


“Living in the moment, it’s a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”

Cherish every gift. Steward the giver as well as the gift.


And, if all else fails, remember this one: “Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing.”

Going back to that adage: “no pain like a campaign.” CapDev CEO, Allan Burrows, always likes to add when he shares those words, something like this: “You will be greatly disappointed by some who you’d hoped would do more, but you will also be delighted by the great generosity of many.”


We hope Ted Lasso’s words and our advice, can help encourage your team along the way to a successful campaign. Click HERE to learn more about how we can cheer your team onto campaign victory.
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