Growing up I had a couple of courses in wood shop. I learned life lessons in that class as well as how to work with wood effectively.
The life lessons I’ll save for another time. One thing I learned about wood was the most effective way to cut and shape it.
You might think that the best way to saw wood would be with the grain. Actually, that’s the worst. Sawing with the grain often results in splits and a spoiled project. (It can also be dangerous if you’re using a high speed saw.)
You always cut across the grain.
When you’re building a fundraising program it’s never a good idea simply to go with the grain. That is to adopt the methods techniques you see others doing. The reason is simple. Methods are, by definition, situational. What works elsewhere probably won’t work in the same way in your situation.
Executives and their development folks make this mistake all the time. “Well, I saw such-and-such method generate lots at (name a place.)
Instead, think of reframing your work into two parts. First, learn the natural laws of philanthropy, then filter those through your organization’s paradigm—your particular world view. Once you’ve done this, the methods you’ll need to execute the strategies will be obvious. Really obvious. Saves time and money while dramatically improving results.
The result? Permanent, growing success today and tomorrow. No need to follow someone else’s star. You’ll know the way to reach yours.