Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Team

You've worked with teams that really clicked, and teams that seemed to fizzle. What made the difference? One factor may have been the mindsets of the people involved. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford University professor, Dr. Carol Dweck, defines a growth mindset as a belief that talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others. Those with fixed mindsets believe their talents cannot be changed. Teams that promote and foster a growth mindset tend to be more collaborative, empowered and committed--all factors we need in an effective development program. In this session, we'll review Dr. Dweck's research and other findings building upon her work, translate how a growth mindset can help build a more effective fundraising team, and provide real-world examples of how mindset can make the difference between a successful professional and a staff person on their way out.


  • Understand the markers of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset
  • Identify strategies to encourage growth mindsets in your team
  • Identify ways to help fixed and growth mindset people work together

Alice L. Ferris, MBA, CFRE, ACFRE
 is the founder of GoalBusters, providing hands-on, comprehensive fundraising leadership for small to medium-sized philanthropic organizations. The GoalBusters team offers services in development and campaign assessment, strategic planning, campaign direction, board and team training, grant writing, and specialty services for public and community media. For the last 30 years, Alice has worked extensively in fundraising for public media, rural healthcare, education, and science organizations, among others. Alice thrives in finding creative solutions for the fundraising challenges of small organizations, as well as teaching and training about practical and realistic tactics. Alice is in the trenches for several organizations, serving, as counsel, as Director of Development for KAWC Colorado River Public Media in Yuma, Arizona, and Administrative Director for KGHR Navajo Public Radio. For her volunteer life, Alice serves on the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northern Arizona Chapter board, and on the advisory boards for the Bolz Center for Arts Administration Advisory Board at the Wisconsin School of Business and the University of Wisconsin Communication Arts Department. She is a three-time honoree as AFP-Northern Arizona Fundraising Professional of the Year, earned her CFRE in 1999 and her ACFRE in 2010. Alice is an experienced international speaker and AFP master trainer.