Determine. Dare. Do.

The uncertainties surrounding economic, political, and pandemic affecting our world, dare us to think differently. They make us reexamine past practices and design new strategies for cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding gifts.

These are cautiously optimistic times to be raising funds. And yet some institutions are having the best year in their history. Yes! The best!

The following tenants were authored by Jerry Panas as a response to another world event that tested our resolve and strengthened our philanthropic beliefs. These principles remain our firm’s principles to this day.

It’s up to you. Determine. Dare. Do. Here are some tenets to follow.

  1. 1 Communicate your vision, your dreams, and your mission. Your case for support must be stronger than ever. And you must tell your story.
  2. Don’t give in to doom and gloom. Be prepared to give those you call on a positive picture of all that you are accomplishing— even in times like this.
  3. Keep your Board of Directors totally informed of your financial situation. Make certain they are roaring advocates for your program. Lean on them.
  4. Give examples of how gifts make a dramatic impact on those you serve.
  5. If you think you can, you can. You are the master of your future. When Sam Walton was asked how he was planning to address that recession, he responded that he had decided not to participate!
  6. Be very clear about how prudent stewards you are in using donor funds. Let your donors know on a regular basis how you are stretching the dollar. Be careful to indicate, also, that you have not cut services in any way— not where they really count.
  7. On a regular basis, let donors know how important their support has been to the institution in the past. Tell them you could not have done it without them.
  8. There has never been a time when planned gifts are more important to your fundraising efforts. Be certain to talk to your friends about estate giving.
  9. Even with major donors who have given in the past but are not able to make a significant gift at this time, keep them involved in some way. Seek their counsel and guidance. They will come back to you.
  10. If the need is urgent, proceed with your campaign plans. We are finding that our campaigns are successful— even in times like this.
  11. Concentrate your efforts on making calls and contacts.
  12. And finally— ask. It’s absolutely amazing what you don’t raise if you don’t ask.

These tenets are still the bedrock of fundraising principles. It is up to all of us to implement these beliefs. Determine. Dare. Do….
Aim high,
Douglas A. Dillon, CFRE