Several political pundits over the past two years have proclaimed that the economy isn’t in recession, it’s in recovery. At the 2010 Bridge Conference in National Harbor, Md., last Wednesday, Tony Elischer, managing director of Think Consulting Solutions, said fundraisers should focus on the third “R” — rewriting, as in rewriting how you think and how you fundraise. To do that, he proposed looking at fundraising as four babies — brave baby, baby and the bathwater, looking to the future baby, and fully managed baby — in his keynote presentation, “Futurology 2010: Focus, Determination & Transformation."
Elischer said he offered the analogy of babies because parenting is a big jump in life, and the secrets to good parenting are to play, praise, increase cooperation, set limits, etc. Just as in fundraising, parenting is nurturing a relationship — shaping, playing, talking, sharing, listening, giving, caring.
“I’ve been fundraising for 28 years,” Elischer said. “Twenty-eight years ago, it was almost as if money fell off trees. It’s not that simple anymore.” Just like raising a baby is not simple either. It takes work, hard work. But the payoff, when done with care and thought and consideration and love, is more than words can describe.
1. Brave baby
“Be brave. Be the one that’s different. Don’t follow a herd. Be a maverick,” Elischer said.
He provided the example of Bavaria beer, one of the most famous beers in the world not because of its taste, but “because it decided to break the rules,” Elischer said. During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Bavaria used ambush marketing at its finest, sending a group of attractive women decked out in orange dresses and a little logo for Bavaria beer, barely visible, on the dresses. It caused quite a stir, as the women were escorted out and the alleged organizers arrested.