The Fundraiser's All-Important 'Web'
I coach a 7-year-old-boys all-star traveling baseball team in the Indianapolis region called the Franklin Township Lightning. Before our game last night, another coach was placing the Lightning decal on the players' helmets as a way to motivate them. He also gave the players nicknames and placed the nicknames on the helmets. My grandson was nicknamed "Spider" because he is very outgoing and connects with each player on the team.
Earlier in the day, I had lunch with an advisory board member and learned a great deal about him and his family. The lunch gave me a chance to inform him about the latest activities of our program area. As I looked around the restaurant, I saw my development committee chair. He was talking to a potential prospect. As I was making the rounds to leave, someone said hello to me. It was the person who hired me for a hospital position 24 years earlier. I hadn't seen my former boss for almost 15 years. I rarely frequent that restaurant but was amazed at the connections on this day in that facility.
In our jobs, we interface with staff, boards, prospects, donors, community, etc., on a daily basis. We also engage with the families of these individuals. If you have had a long career, the calculator begins to add at an amazing pace. You begin with one appointment and end with hundreds of contacts. In every case, you "pick up" where you left off with the individual relationship. In some special cases, you interact with the same people as you move from job to job.
In each relationship, make each interaction meaningful and memorable. Make those around you feel special, and appreciate their friendship. I thrive on meeting new people and engaging old friends. In development, your reputation is everything. In the six-degrees-of-separation world, be consistent in thought and messaging and be true to yourself. Life is short and as you age, so is the span of one's career. Look back and say to yourself that you gave 100 percent to help others. Is there no better feeling in the world?
As a spider, don't you build a web that grows over time? The common threads of interaction and relationships make all of us spiders. Each web grows over time and is very strong and complex. We hope to maintain people in our web forever, and in many cases, we develop relationships with generations of the same family. I am a firm believer that every development professional should attempt to build his or her own web each day.
I wonder if I can get a helmet with a spider decal on it like my grandson's.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.