I’m hearing a lot of talk lately about being donor centric. I have to say, I’m shocked! Why do we have to talk about being donor centric? Why is this even a question? Of course, we should have the donor at the center of all we do. It’s crazy to imagine everybody doesn’t have the donor at the center. Well, I’ve been on the side of crazy myself so full disclosure that I know first hand how the day-today operations can push a donor to the sidelines.
We had a big project to remodel the entire facility, it was going to be beautiful. We went to the chair chair of the system board-the big kahuna!
We sat down with him, arrogantly assuming we’re going to get a fabulous gift and he says, “You know, I’m just not really happy with this project.” My brain exploded. I realized in an instant that we had never had a donor conversation with him about the project. We assumed a slam dunk.” So, after gulping down my embarrassment, I asked, “Okay, tell me what’s wrong. What would you like to see different?” He said, there’s no mission here. No mission!? He went on to explain, “We are religiously-based and mission driven organization and we do not have one single symbol of any of that in this entire building.”
It never occurred to me, it never occurred to any of us! We were so busy being everything to everybody, we forgot who we were, and it took a donor to bring us back. We said, “Okay, how do we fix that?” and he said, “Oh my gosh, I have so many ideas let me tell you!” And he did, he had a ton of ideas and they were all really expensive. Guess what? He funded every single one. So, don’t forget Mission and don’t forget your donors’ are the heart of that mission. It’s why your donors are there and it’s why you should be there too.