Hyper responsibility is not your friend

It is typical of fundraisers that we are over-responsible.  We are conscientious problem-solvers, and so we often try to solve problems that are not ours to solve.  I spoke to a fundraiser recently who was struggling with how to generate the content for a monthly email newsletter to major gift prospects.  The problems she was talking about were very real: program staff are too busy to write stuff down, she is too busy to pursue them, program staff don’t tell her about upcoming events until too late, the communications team is preoccupied with action alerts, and so forth.  BUT, when we talked to the executive director a few days later, and all the problems melted away.  The ED recognized that monthly emails to major gift prospects were a good idea, and said she would make it happen.

Remember — that sense of hyper responsibility is not always your friend.  Other people may be better placed than you are to make things happen.  Go forth and delegate, upward, downward, sideways — whatever it takes to get the job done.

Small organizations / big gifts

SMALL ORGANIZATION/BIG GIFT.  It does happen.  If it has happened to you, please share here – and check out the Jump Start Contest at www.jumpstartgrowth.com

money_falling_from_skyOn November 15 in 2002, at Poetry Magazine’s 90th anniversary dinner celebration, Ruth Lilly’s $100 million pledge was announced.  The Poetry Foundation pre-Lilly was a modest magazine publisher with a staff of four and $1.3 million budget.

If it does your heart good in this sober financial climate to imagine a gift of 77 times your operating budget, enjoy a blissful moment of dreaming about your own Miracle Gift Day.

If you know who that person is, make a goal of spending an hour with him or her in the next six weeks without asking for a gift.  Talk about your dreams for the organization in 5-10 years.  Listen.  Listen.  Listen.  And ask if you can come back for another conversation in six months as your plans crystallize.

Sometimes, good things happen to good people. If your organization has benefited from big gifts, please share the story.  And be sure to enter the Jump Start Contest, Prizes include a $2,500 cash prize, recognition in the fund raising press, and free board training. Details at www.jumpstartgrowth.com/contest.