I remember when I went to meet a major donor to ask for £100,000. It was 2008 and I was still relatively new to the job, having made the leap from the corporate world to the magical landscape of the third sector. I'd managed to secure a number of major gifts up to that point, but this - this - was going to be my big one. When I finally arrived as a fundraiser. YES. The 100k club. I was about to become its newest member.
Something happened to me recently that made me realise how susceptible we are to subtle and subliminal labels and commands, and how this can sometimes paralyse us into subordination. Let me tell you the story.
I recently spoke at the IOF Major Donor Fundraising conference, and was allocated the topic of ’Stewardship’, which I intended to talk about alongside NLP - Neuro-Linguistic Programming - the basis of my fundraising training. In preparing for the talk, I immediately started thinking about 'best-practice' examples of letters, cards and updates that I could showcase, so as to advise those in attendance about exactly what it is they should be doing to ensure their donors were being 'stewarded' effectively.
And then I stopped.