No silver bullet for this problem.
It took me a long time and a lot of failure to learn that there is no silver bullet in any part of life, personal or professional, to solve the situations I face.
I thought that the way to win the love, affection and commitment of a woman was through well-crafted words, creative outings and events, gifts, giving her compliments and getting her to like me, etc. Nope. It’s about respect, mutuality, authenticity and love. Basic stuff.
I thought the way to win the boss’s favor was to look good, compliment him, do what he wants, always say yes, etc. Nope. It’s about service, results and being a team player. Basic stuff.
I thought the way to secure a major donor’s money was through creative approaches, innovative moves, crafty and emotional donor offers, putting the donor together with high profile people in the community, great events, etc. Nope. It’s about helping donors fulfill their interests and passions. Basic stuff.
The “silver bullet” is promoted by many people these days. I Googled it just now. Goodness! There are a lot of promises. “Just do this,” they say, “and everything will be great!” It’s a lie. The ideas might be helpful, but they are not the ultimate solution.
The ultimate solution is just the basic stuff.
Several months ago someone at a conference asked for a silver bullet. “What creative new thing could I do to get the donor to give?” they asked.
“Find out the donor’s interests and passions, and then help the donor fulfill them through your organization,” I quickly replied.
I could tell that the person was disappointed. The little voice inside the person’s head was saying: “Really? Come on, Richard, can’t you do better than that? Is that all you have?”
So I said: “I can tell you’re disappointed with my reply, and you’re wondering if there really might be some other more exciting and creative idea I might share that would actually work. Am I right?”
“Yes,” the person replied.
And then we had a long discussion about the lie of the silver bullet. Jeff and I repeatedly find that people are amazed and somewhat confused by our basic stuff – our call for MGOs to come back to the real things that matter and work. But we keep talking about it because it does matter, and it works. Plus it’s honoring to the donor and protects and enhances the economy of the non-profit.
My writings in the last several posts have been about the basic stuff. What is the essence of moves management? Are you thinking about solving the problem? Are you focused on the right content? All basic stuff.
Don’t overthink your donor relationship strategies; just do the basic stuff. That’s what will work. There is no silver bullet.