Strength Training for Fundraisers
2. I'd teach my colleagues in fundraising to make the 90-degree shift and aspire to be 15 minutes ahead
These two fundamental attitudes underpin the best approach to donor development. The first, making the 90-degree shift, involves putting myself firmly but clearly in the donors' shoes, seeing everything our organization does through our donors' eyes. It sounds uncomfortable and it's not easy, but nothing else comes close in helping us build mutually beneficial relationships with our donors. Imagine — instead of giving donors what we want them to have, when we make the 90-degree shift we can be sure to offer them only what they want to receive.
The second, aspiring to be 15 minutes ahead, means I would concentrate not on finding those rare, elusive, breakthrough ideas to advance our fundraising, but on implementing the myriad small but cumulatively significant ideas that are all around fundraisers today, almost waiting to be picked up. For I know that's how our fundraising is most likely to move fastest — not in a few risky, giant steps but in lots of sensible, even obvious, but demonstrably sound little ones.
Before focusing in any detail on the techniques and skills fundraisers need, I'd make sure my own thinking was right, and I'd encourage my colleagues to get their thinking right too. Before I'd unleash any of my well-meaning fundraising colleagues on our poor, unsuspecting donors who deserve so much better than they usually get, I'd ensure they start off with all the good habits fundraisers need to acquire. So I'd rigorously remind all my colleagues of the basic foundations of our profession, the essential values and approaches that underpin good fundraising. I wouldn't let them even talk to a donor until they'd passed muster on the basics.