In Need of Some Clairification?
I have a dream you will ask not what your donors can do for you, but what you can do for your donors. You will recognize that they don’t serve you; you serve them. You will embrace the true meaning of philanthropy as love of humankind. You will remember that your donors are humankind; you must love them if you want to be a part of philanthropy. Otherwise, you’re just transacting business.
I have a dream you will re-evaluate your raison d’etre. You will ask yourself whether you’re in the business of selling, and you won’t answer cavalierly. You will not pat yourself on the back for being different than your for-profit brethren. You will not tell yourself that nonprofits are about mission and values and doing good deeds; whereas for-profits are about greed and sales. You will re-evaluate why people compare “making the ask” to “making the sale.”
I have a dream you will embrace your role as a salesperson, understanding how fundamentally human this is. You will understand that selling (the very definition of which is to exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent) is something that we’re constantly doing. And you will have an “a-ha” moment that this is also what fundraising is about — a value-for-value exchange. A donor gives something of value (money or an in-kind good or service), and the charity returns something of value to the donor.
As Daniel Pink writes in his new book “To Sell Is Human,” “the ability to move others to exchange what they have for what we have is crucial to our survival and our happiness. It has helped our species evolve, lifted our living standards, and enhanced our daily lives. The capacity to sell isn’t some unnatural adaption to the merciless world of commerce. It is part of who we are.”
If you like craft fairs, baseball games, art openings, vocal and guitar, and political conversation, you’ll like to hang out with Claire Axelrad. Claire, J.D., CFRE, will inspire you through her philosophy of philanthropy, not fundraising. After a 30-year development career that earned her the AFP “Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year” award, Claire left the trenches to begin her coaching/teaching practice, Clairification. Claire is also a featured expert and chief fundraising coach for Bloomerang, She’ll be your guide, so you can be your donor’s guide on their philanthropic journey. A member of the California State Bar and graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco.