Fundraising

If you've been around development work for any amount of time, or have worked with major donors at all, you've probably asked yourself this question - maybe more than once. We have a saying at The Timothy Group (sorry, I don’t know who originated it), “A successful donor visit is when the right person asks the right person for the right amount for the right project in the right place at the right time.”

  If you are involved in non-profit ministry and/or fund-raising for long, you will probably hear the term “elevator pitch.” Are you familiar with it? From Wikipedia, ”an elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.” (Pincus, Aileen. "The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch".)

When employees arrive for their first day at Apple they are greeted with this inspirational note: "There’s work and there’s your life’s work. The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end. They want their work to add up to something. Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Welcome to Apple."

If you've been involved in development work for long, you've probably had a situation where you made the “ask” of a donor before he/she was ready. How did you know they weren’t ready? A couple ways, probably – either he/she was offended, said “no” or gave a significantly smaller amount than you hoped for. No worries, we have all been there a time or two. Maybe a better question is - how would you know (for next time)? The relationship between a donor, the development staff person or volunteer assigned to him/her and the institution in need of support is a tricky one. There are guidelines of when a donor is ultimately “ready” for solicitation, but no hard, fast rules. Every donor, every organization and every campaign is different.

I have never once caused it to rain in my nearly 34 years in our Stewardship Practice here at TTG. I know who sends the rain and it is not me. However I do know what to do with the rain once God sends it. I have been in the irrigation business all these years. I also admit to an occasional attempt at “Cloud Seeding - yes, trying to help God out a bit! Nice segue to my BHAQ-(Big Harry Audacious Question) “BHAQ QUESTION”-DOES GOD REALLY NEED US TO ACCOMPLISH HIS TASKS HERE ON EARTH?