The “drive-by” mentality has had its impact upon just about everything in American culture. Ever since the golden arches started its drive-thru windows, we’ve been conditioned that just about anything can be obtained on the drive thru. Fundraising, unfortunately, is no exception.
Raising money for a worthy organization—especially the sustainable kind—takes concentration, effort and commitment. Like being a tourist in a world capital, driving by in the tour bus gives only the image without the experience. Sustainable philanthropy is based upon experience—donors experiencing the worthiness of your organization. In order for donors to experience your organization you must first experience their world.
If you want to understand an accountant, spend time with one in their own professional environment. How’s that for a sexy fundraising idea? In conversation when people ask me “what I do”, their first reaction to my response, “I help nonprofits fundraise” is that such an undertaking must be really hard—especially given recent economic conditions. They usually say this with the (usually unspoken) sentiment that it is probably fairly repugnant, as well.
Fundraising—philanthropy that endures—is based upon mutually beneficial relationships which give donors the opportunity to experience self-actualization while, at the same time, providing a worthy organization with critical funds to improve the community. Not bad work, if you can find it.
Whatever fundraising is, it’s not a “drive-by” undertaking no matter how appealing the prospect might sound. It’s the difference from seeing the Eiffel Tower from a tour bus or taking in the view from the top.
Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace Associates