Monday, December 31, 2007

So many reasons to say two simple words...

I have always hated the end of the year. Calling lapsed donors to beg for cash, calling foundations to see if their check would be arriving, etc.... all of it can become such a drag.

So this year, I did it differently.

I gave up on the idea of getting money today. I decided instead to focus on making friends.

I have probably called around 100 donors in the past few days to say something like this, "I am calling for many reasons, all of which result in the same two words.... Thank you."

It is amazing how many of our donors were shocked into a state of utter surprise by the fact that I was just calling to thank them and NOT ask for more money.

I am not telling this story because I think I've done anything particularly wonderful. I just wanted to share it as a way that we can all begin to realize that fundraising is not simply a matter of effective marketing, but also a matter of friendship building.

Getting money today is great, and we could not do our work without it. But the work that we do today is rarely about the money that we put in the bank at 5:00 p.m.; it's likely more about the money that the next generation of fundraisers will be putting into the bank.

As the company Seventh Generation puts it, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."

(citing the belief of the Iroquois)

Happy new year, everyone! In 2008, let's all focus on building relationships with donors whose true value will be seen not only at the end of the year, but also the end of our careers, and those of the seven fundraisers to follow us.

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