The Sixth Diamond
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!
This week, as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, I am departing from my usual practice of highlighting a particular challenge faced by one of my readers.
I’m looking forward to sharing the season with my family, as I hope you are.
Being grateful for blessings for the gifts and grace of others predates our country’s formation with the “first” Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Mass. Taking time to pause and reflect in this way is as old as America herself.
The national holiday we celebrate on the fourth Thursday in November was born out of strife and war, however. It became a federal holiday when, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens" for the Union victory at Gettysburg.
Before we get caught up in the turkey and pumpkin pie—and I dearly love pumpkin pie—let’s take a moment to reflect on what we’re really thankful for.
Nonprofits—those organizations, which look to the goodwill and generosity of others for their very continuance—have a direct and powerful need to be thankful.
And many do appreciate their supporters and investors.
So what’s the point?
Telling your supporters at Thanksgiving you appreciate them is just fine. Showing them takes gratitude to the next level. Communicating gratitude without even telling them hits it out of the park.
How do you do this?
I take my cue from an organization, which you may not associate with being grateful for blessings. The Ritz-Carlton takes anticipating guests’ needs as its credo.
Notice the emphasis upon anticipating. Anticipating isn’t merely responding.
Telling our supporters and investors “thank you” is the first step. Some of us even stumble with this. Performing an act of gratitude is one better.
Anticipating what is important to our investors and delivering is the mark of what Ritz-Carlton team members call “the sixth diamond.”
The sixth diamond, according to The Ritz-Carlton, is “mystique, emotional engagement, functional.” This, perhaps, isn’t what you’d expect from the No. 1 luxury hotel and resort company.
But there it is.
What does this look like for a charitable organization? It’s delivering on the values and visions of your supporters. It’s involving your investors in a way that engages their very beings. It’s letting them in on what you’re up to in a manner, which is sincere but without fanfare.
It’s letting them know it’s about them, not you.
Nonprofits too often are all about their operations and programs. We even brag about them. The Ritz-Carlton doesn’t prattle on about the luxury and perfection of their properties. They focus on engaging their guests at an emotional level.
Principle 1 of The Eight Principles™ is “Donors are the Drivers®.” Donors drive philanthropy with their values and visions—their emotional engagements—and by extension provide the life-blood of nonprofits.
As you approach this season of Thanksgiving, it’s perfectly fine to send the greeting card, the gift basket, even make the phone call. All good.
Do you want to rise to the sixth diamond, however? Focus on the emotional engagements of your supporters. Deliver on this.
The best part, it won’t even cost you a postage stamp.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. I’m taking the day off to be with my family. I’ll return to these pages on Thurs., Dec. 3.
Until then, I extend my heartfelt best wishes to you and your family for a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
Let me hear from you. Please share your situation and the challenges you face in developing sustainable revenue streams. Email me and I’ll arrange a brief consult providing you with practical guidance. I’ll choose some of these thorny obstacles to share, along with my insights, in upcoming columns.
Success is waiting. Go out and achieve it.
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.
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