Abundance, Scarcity and Keeping Donors' Faith
We’ve all been there. The absolute perfect potential investor is now within our reach. We’ve been practicing Principle 5 of The Eight Principles, “Work From the Inside Out,” with religious fervor. And now it’s paying off.
There’s just one hurdle.
It seems this “perfect” donor to our cause—serious interest, serious values-match and serious resources—has a keeper. That keeper sees this donor as proprietary. That is—his property.
Whenever Sara is out and about among the charitable community, Jim is right at her heels, and whispering in her ear. “Remember your loyalty.” And, “I’m the one you can trust.” He might also add, “I’m the most bang for your buck.”
This very situation recently played out right before my eyes.
Bill is in the midst of a major campaign for a new facility that is directly in line with Sara’s heartfelt—and lifelong—interest. Bill’s organization is in the community where Sara has been expressing an interest to get more involved.
Jim (Sara’s keeper) is the director of a foundation to which Sara has been very generous. She’s established a center of excellence for Jim’s foundation all on her own. Who can blame Jim for feeling a bit protective? The problem is, such a stance comes straight out of scarcity.
You know it. It’s the place where those bats fly out of. Its anthem? “If you get yours, I won’t get mine.”
You know this is disrespectful to the donor. There’s no integrity here. And let’s face it, this attitude doesn’t do your cause any good, either.
The question: How do you counteract this while keeping faith with the donor? After all, you don’t want to simply take the keeper’s place.
No, you really don’t!
You truly want to give Sara the freedom to invest where she wants. You just want to give her the opportunity to see your organization and learn what it offers—without Jim hovering and whispering.
Bill is a great guy. He has instincts that are almost always right on. And so they were in this case. He did what might seem to be counterintuitive. He didn’t phone Sara and try to get his proverbial foot in the door.
Instead, he phoned Jim, the keeper. Wow. That took guts.
Bill explained to Jim that it was in his interest to give Sara the freedom of attending an upcoming awareness meeting for Bill’s campaign without Jim tagging along.
Because Bill had no intention of “moving in” on Sara. He simply wanted Sara to have the opportunity to learn more about his campaign.
It is for a facility, which is also in line with the mission of Jim’s foundation.
Think abundance, here.
Bill’s phone call came so out of the blue that it set Jim completely off balance.
Hmm. Why not?
“Sure,” said Jim. “That sounds good. I’ll even encourage Sara to attend. I know the host is a good friend of hers.”
Will this approach work every time? No. But it will give you the best chance of reaching Sara—today and tomorrow.
The bottom line: Think abundance, and practice it. Doing so can often turn the tables on those who think otherwise.
Success is waiting. Go out there and achieve it.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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