As I heard a development officer giving his tips on major giving, I couldn’t help but think of Maurice Sendak’s classic, Where the Wild things Are.
In Sendak’s tale, the little boy Max is sent to bed after wrecking havoc in his house. His bedroom undergoes a transformation, however, and he sails to an island where the “wild things” are. After he has successfully intimidated these ferocious beasts he is hailed as their king. He returns home, to their dismay and becomes the little boy again—complete with warm dinner waiting.
This particular fundraiser kept referring to going “out there” to “get” a major donor. He made it sound like big-game hunting.
Principle 5 of The Eight Principles™ is Work From the Inside Out™. We build our team of true supporters by beginning with those closest to us by relationship and reason to give.
More than this, “major donors” and true supporters aren’t found, they’re created. Hence, very few among us—even those very well heeled think of ourselves as “major donors.” That’s a term fundraisers invented.
When we invest in a cause we think of investing in the lives of other people. We give to make our communities better places.
If the organization in which we invest maintains our trust and delivers the outcomes we want, we’ll continue to give. As our trust grows, if we’re invited to invest more, we will.
That’s how “major donors” are created.
They’re never found.