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Purpose vs. Quota

Close up picture of an archer knocking an arrow and preparing to draw before firing at a target in the distance.
As an archer focuses on the center of the target, being clear with our intentions helps achieve our goals. Photo by Suju on Pixabay

A strategy for more effective connection with prospects

As we approach the end of another quarter, how is your revenue pipeline shaping up? Most companies and non-profits will be able to forecast how the quarter is likely to close.

If things are on-track, celebrate!

If they’re not, consider whether or not there’s an underlying focus that might be working against your goal.

Here’s a conversation that might help you think a little differently about your business development and sales strategy.


I was having coffee with a friend of mine who is doing important work. A lot changed for him in the time since we got together last and it was great to catch up on life, business, and other interests.

The conversation turned to the work related side of things. He’s recently accepted a fund-raising development position in a non-profit organization. He’s also agreed to serve as the voluntary board chair of another.

We were discussing high-level strategies and a few of those brass-tacks “organizational strategy” kinds of things. You know, things like:

  • Who do you serve and how do you find like-minded donors?

  • How are you setting your annual fund-raising targets?

  • What are all the donor groups and how much effort is it to reach each one?

  • Have you been able to sync the fundraising goals with the operational expenses and needs of the company?

  • Are there ways you can 10x your thinking about how to activate your donor base?

  • Do you have the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll need in order to track the trends and performance?

All important and necessary things.


As we chatted, I realized that all my questions were leading to one bigger question: How much “revenue” can a single fundraiser generate?

In sales terms, that’s a quota.

And then it occurred to me.

People don’t give money because of our quotas. People give money because of our purpose.

What if… as fund-raisers and sales people, we focused our internal narrative less on quotas and more on selling the purpose?

My friend and I found ourselves asking more fundamental, and arguably, more important questions:

  • What is it about this non-profit that deeply motivates you?

  • How do you talk about about change you seek to make in the lives of other people?

  • In what ways does the purpose you’re offering align with the motivation of your individual donor base?

It doesn’t mean that quotas aren’t important, it just means that the purpose has more value. That’s because KPIs will almost always take care of themselves when we engage in a purpose driven narrative with the people we seek to serve.

Whether you’re a fundraiser for a non-profit or you’re a business development professional in a commercial enterprise, the question is the same. What’s driving your “sales” process?

If you or your team are quota driven, on which prospect call this week can you test a truly purpose driven conversation?

How can you change your approach and design a discussion around your donor or client’s motivation and purpose that causes your offer to resonate with them in a deep and compelling way?

Be clear on your internal narrative and connect with purpose!


Paravelle offers executive coaching services to founders and CEOs with big growth goals. It's a crucial support structure that helps leaders avoid the negative results that come from being lonely at the top.

We might be a good fit to work together if you're:

  • at the create (<1M ARR), build ($1-3M ARR), or grow ($3-5M ARR) stage,

  • curious and looking for ideas and answers, and

  • ready to invest in working with a collaborator that brings a co-founder's perspective (without losing half your equity).

Let's chat!


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