Fundraising Tag

I have never once caused it to rain in my nearly 40 years of 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, I'm trying to help God out a bit! This reveals the need to pause and ask myself the following question.

BHAQ (Big Harry Audacious Question):

DOES GOD REALLY NEED US TO ACCOMPLISH HIS TASKS HERE ON EARTH?

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."

How do you know when the donor isn't ready? 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 they're weren't ready. How so? A couple of differing ways, probably – either they were 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 can you know (for next time)? The relationship between a donor, the development staff person or volunteer assigned to the donor, 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'm sure you've heard this expression, "There are no small dreams"… maybe in a leadership class… or maybe from a motivational speaker … or perhaps in a good article on business best practices? One of the more famous quotes in this vein reads, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” That was penned by German poet, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. I’m not sure exactly when he said it, but I believe it was in the late 1700’s.
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