A Confession — and a Challenge to Fundraisers
Last week, I suggested five back-to-work supplies no fundraiser should be without. The second "supply" I suggested was a Rolodex, literal or electronic. I wrote, "The person you met at a conference, the former colleague who has moved on or even the person you cold-called a year ago when you had a question may be a great source of information when you are facing a new situation or a troubling trend."
One of my good friends who supplies a product used by fundraisers sent me an email saying, "Wish the day of 'friends' in the business was still true, but I have found … not many people are willing to share info anymore. I have a few old friends that will share some info, but the day when we would sit around a table and share is over."
My confession — I have a "Pollyanna streak" a mile long, and as a result, I can be naive. I have been blessed by generous people who provided learnings and suggestions as I traveled my (so far) 35-year journey in fundraising. (The person who sent me that email is one of them.) And I have tried to say "thank you" by sharing information with others — through teaching, writing, mentoring, answering emails and calls from people with questions about fundraising, etc.
Why? Because I genuinely believe that there is enough money to go around. What there isn't enough of are passionate people who not only love an organization's mission but understand fundraising enough to be able to show others how supporting that cause will help them further their own philanthropic goals.
Anyone who has been in fundraising for any length of time knows how one organization can be negatively impacted by the mistakes of another. If one organization with a mission of X is headline news for a day or two because of a misdeed, other organizations with a mission of X often see their income take a steep decline. If your name is similar to another organization's or you get funding from an organization, its misdeeds can threaten your organization.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.