The Community of Friends
I recently visited a CPA in Indianapolis. He was a donor to The Salvation Army who had given for many years at a modest level. All of a sudden, he made a very large gift. When I found out about it, I was fortunate enough to secure an appointment with him. I was curious to see if I could engage him and build a relationship with him over time.
As I met with him in his office, he was warm and engaging. He was thankful that the tax season was finally winding down. He was looking forward to improving his golf game. I asked him what caused him to make such a wonderful, increased gift in 2012. He said he sold an asset and gave the proceeds to four charities in equal shares, including The Salvation Army.
I then really began to get curious. I asked him if he enjoyed my visit. He said he enjoyed it very much. I asked him if the other three charities contacted him in the same manner. He noted that not only did they contact him, but he and his wife went out to dinner with the president of one organization, visited another organization and met other representatives at the third organization. Instead of feeling very competitive and jealous with my juices flowing, I felt a sense of pride for my profession. I personally knew my other peers who visited him, and I was glad all were engaging him. I do not usually have the opportunity to discover this type of information from a donor.
The moral of this story is obvious. In Indianapolis, like other places across the United States, the competition for the charitable dollar is very keen. The good news from this experience is that fundraising professionals are making their involvement positive to the prospect and donor. In this case, the donor laughed and said he was happy to be so popular. He loved the attention from the four charities. If we truly care about those we serve, we realize quickly it is not about us individually but about our profession as a whole. We need to promote philanthropy and understand prospects have a wide range of choices, and many donors contribute to several charities at the same time. You have to share and be happy with your piece of the pie. It is all about promoting philanthropy!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.