Sometime in May, I attended a webinar put on by a consulting firm because I was curious to see how they would present making an ask; in fact, I believe it was about making a $1 million solicitation. I could tell pretty quickly that these folks hadn't had much experience on the fundraising front line.
The senior consultant in the group presenting made an interesting and definitive statement, "your donors want to solve problems ." My first thought was that this is great idea for a new CASE award. This year the award for best problems goes to. It sounds silly, of course, but this guy meant it. I learned from legendary consultant Peter Block that the words we use create the world we live and work in. Do you want your donors immersed in problems, or should they believe in possibilities?
As we head into this weekend, remember that the founding fathers on that day in Philadelphia didn't sign that historical document with the hope of future problems it was about possibility and belief in human potential. Philanthropy at its best isn't about filling a hole of negativity; it's creating something that never existed and making the world better.
Philanthropy is the business of possibility and belief. So this weekend, as you sip that cold beer, ice tea, or feel the flame of the barbecue, remember that
afternoon in Philadelphia and the possibility our forefathers set in motion and how fortunate we all are that they saw the best in us.
When you come back from the long weekend or your summer vacation ready to begin the new fiscal year, consider not bringing problems to your donors but believe in the potential of your community's capacity. If you want to learn more about the business of belief, check out my friend Tom Asacker and his brilliant book on the topic.