A special guest post by the Godfather of Good, David Love on one of the most important #donorlove fundamentals.“Money follows Value.”
These three simple words express a fundamental principle for those of us who think we are in the fundraising business.
It came home to me last week when I learned of the death of Mrs. Sonja Bata. Sonja was a founder of WWF in Canada and was a passionate supporter when I joined WWF in 1979.
Almost every year, she would call to ask us to come and pick up her donation. It was always between Christmas and New Year’s because that’s when her accountant suggested she could use a tax receipt.
In the mid 80s, I went to visit her to pick up her cheque. She gave $5,000 to WWF and of course, I said “thank you.”
But I knew that while she supported WWF, I was aware that she made much larger gifts to other charities like universities and hospitals. So, on this visit, I finally summoned the courage to ask her a question that had been nagging me for years.
“Sonja, would you tell me why you make much larger contributions to other charities?”
She looked at me coolly – and she was cool to the end! – and said, “David, you’ve got to earn it.”
It took a while for that to sink in but soon after, we started to develop some ideas that “earned it.” The last one I was involved in was the successful $10 million Nature of Tomorrow Campaign from 1995 – 2000. Mrs. Bata contributed generously to that!
So gentle reader, Mrs. Bata taught me that my job was not to raise money. It was, and still is, to create value.
Bless her. Requiem.
The above photo is of Mrs. Bata on her 90th birthday with then WWF -Canada President David Miller and long-time supporter and former Prime Minister, John Turner