Making It Rain: The Role of Rainmaker
Have a fundraising challenge you want to crack? Weary of doing the same old, same old yet hoping for different outcomes? Do you want the over-the-top results that come from superior strategy?
Email me with your particular problem and I’ll arrange a quick consultation offering you a practical solution you can implement. I may even use your situation to share with my readers. Names are changed, of course.
The last of the three articles on the roles in soliciting, this week I take up the role that many people see as the sum total of the ask—the individual that actually does the asking. I call it the “rainmaker.”
What does the rainmaker do? In agriculturally based tribal societies, the role of the rainmaker, a shaman of sorts, was critical. Through him, rain was encouraged to fall to provide for crops and sustenance, and thus, life.
The rainmaker in fundraising, likewise, makes things happen. Given the proper preparation, the rainmaker can usually get a “yes” in response to the request for a gift.
It’s important to remember that even the shaman of old invoked help from others. For him, it was friendly spirits, opiates or other aids. Critical to his success, however, was the belief and confidence that others placed in him. So it is with the fundraising rainmaker.
The fundraising rainmaker has many to help him or her. He appears on the scene when all is ready—and not before. Remember, all three roles—bag carrier, authenticator and rainmaker—can be accomplished with one individual. It’s the role that appears when all is ready, not the person, per se.
Let’s quickly review the two roles we’ve already covered. The bag carrier, you’ll recall, is the person who makes ready. The individual who prepares collateral and sets the stage strategically. He or she is on the spot when and where documentation is needed.
The authenticator is the person that, as the name implies, makes the cause or appeal authentic, real and genuine. Genuine to the potential investor, that is. The point of view of the other is the critical condition—and the most difficult to achieve. This is Principle 2 of The Eight Principles™, Begin at the Beginning™, in force.
The rainmaker is the individual that builds upon the readiness of the bag carrier and the believability of the authenticator to bring the potential investor to the point of commitment. He or she knows that without proper preparation and a state of readiness in the mind of the investor, simply putting forth a proposal—asking—is unlikely to achieve the desired outcome.
So, what are the qualities that we look for in the effective rainmaker? First, and foremost, is a personal commitment to the cause being promoted. Having made their own investment—yes, gift—is critical in being persuasive. Whether or not the subject is ever broached, the investor knows instinctively if a commitment has been made by the rainmaker.
Call it “instinct,” “gut” or whatever, the aura is undeniable to the investor in its presence—and essential to success.
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.
Reach Larry on social media at: