Let’s face it.
These are different and difficult times for front-line fundraisers like MGOs and PGOs.
They’re difficult mostly because the insiders in their organizations are behaving badly.
Not the donors. The insiders.
Let me explain.
- Some managers and leaders are actually preventing these front-line fundraisers from asking donors for gifts. Yes. Preventing. “You will not ask during these times.” That’s what they’re saying. I talked about this in my last blog post. This is sheer foolishness. Seriously. And what will happen as a result of this directive is lower revenue and failure, putting the front-line fundraiser in personal jeopardy while the leader/manager stays financially whole. This is just not right. The front-line fundraiser should be presenting the need and telling the story. And they should be asking.
- Some front-line fundraisers are being laid off or having their hours reduced. Why? The fear of a reduction in revenue. This is like fearing being thirsty and turning the water supply off. It doesn’t make any sense. Jeff and I just don’t know how these folks think. You shouldn’t cut revenue-producing activities!
- Some front-line fundraisers are partially being pulled off their caseloads and given other tasks. This is like cutting off the water supply and then needing it. I really don’t understand this one. If I were the authority figure I would INCREASE the labor devoted to talking to donors. Remember, donors are your source of revenue.
- Many front-line fundraisers are being told that donors don’t want to give during these times. Hmmm. We’re not experiencing that. Quite the opposite. Your good donor who loves your organization is giving, and they want to help as much as they can. Yes, there are donors who must give less or not give at all. And they feel bad about that. But they will be back. Just talk to them and give them comfort that it’s OK.
That’s all the insiders. But it will be OK, regardless.
Then there are those outsiders: thought leaders, media, consultants, etc. who are spreading gloom and doom – all of it from their point of view. None of it from the actual donor. These are the folks who claim to know what fundraising is all about. But they think it’s about money when, in fact, it isn’t. It’s about that transcendent act of loving and caring that humans are motivated to do. It’s pretty sad – but it will be OK.
The fact is that many of your donors will keep giving the same. Many will give more. Some will give less. Some won’t give at all. But the sum of all of it, the giving, less giving, not giving, won’t be as disastrous as you think.
And all you need to do is tell your donor about the compelling need and ask in a gracious, non-expectant, non-obligatory way. And then, authentically, be at peace with the answer. That’s it.
So lean back right now and take a deep breath, and know it will be OK. There are thousands of front-line fundraisers just like you all around the world who are being assailed by the same pressures and behavior I outlined earlier in this post.
And they are rising above it all, like you will, and talking to donors, caring about them, loving them and explaining what needs to be done. They are doing all that and then leaving the result to the universe. That’s all you can do. And that’s all that’s needed.
Don’t listen to the negative naysaying voices that are around you – those misguided insiders and outsiders – just follow what you know is right. And everything will be OK.
And if you are one of the thousands of lucky front-line fundraisers who work with good and enlightened leaders and managers, like we do, be thankful for them and tell them how much you appreciate them. (Tweet it!) Their lives are tough these days too. And they could use the encouragement and your gratitude.