Where Have All the Taxis Gone?
But two of his daughters, one of whom has been a longtime supporter of Democratic causes, actually run the foundation's day-to-day operations. That daughter gave $600,000 to Planned Parenthood in 2011 and has supported PBS, anti-death penalty work, and arts organizations in and around Dallas.
Dinner table conversations at the Simmons house must be as lively as the ones at James Carville and Mary Matalin's place.
But the point here is that it never pays to second-guess a donor's motivation. We can rely on data and test results to show us what people actually do, but when we start making a lot of assumptions on our own about why they do or don't contribute, we're in treacherous waters.
This is where donor surveys can get you in a lot of trouble. People answer questions based on how they want to be perceived. But when it comes to actually parting with their money, their actions don't always match their words.
So survey, contact and interview your donors all you want. There's real value in doing so. But that value may turn out to have more to do with cultivation than with predicting their future behavior.
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.