Today I am thrilled to post this new entry by the Executive Director of the Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto and Agent of Good operative, David Love. For those of you who know David, he needs no introduction – and there is none that I could provide that would do him the justice that his 40 plus years in our sector deserves. David, father of Agent Jen Love, has been an inspiration to many, many fundraisers like me through the years and we are most fortunate to be able to work with him to help our clients reach their goals. Thanks for your post today David! – Agent John
Inspired by Agent Jen’s sparkling rumination on what the Titanic teaches us about donor-centred fundraising, here’s a look at the subject from the point of view of the other actor in that story.
Start small, grow big
The infamous iceberg began life as a few snowflakes. A donor-centred program starts with small things. How about beginning yours with a personal, short, passionate, prompt, interesting thank you letter.
It takes time
It took the iceberg thousands of years be get to where it was on April 14, 1912. In the case of your program, it will take time to become truly donor-centred. After all, you are transforming your approach from organization centred to donor centred. Take the time to do it right!
Progress is impeded
The iceberg’s journey was not smooth. On many occasions it was trapped in ice or blown by storms. Your journey to be donor-centred will not be without stops along the way. You will be slowed down by questions like “Are we sure this is the right thing to do? What about the mission? What about our new fabulous new campaign?” Just stop, take a deep breath and recommit to putting your donor first.
Most is below the surface
The Titanic iceberg was – titanic! Between 30 and 60 meters high and 60 to 120 meters long. And more than three quarters of it was under the water. A successful donor-centred program is also about what you don’t see – an uncompromising commitment to do what’s best for your donors – not your boss or your board.
15 minutes of fame
The iceberg had it’s moment of fame even without James Cameron. Your donor-centred program will just as surely produce some spectacular results. And some might even happen after you move on to help another organization do what’s right. A stunning major gift. A magnificent bequest. These gifts come from people who have been at the centre of your thinking; not at the edges.