Here’s a Million Dollar Idea

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Published April 4, 2016

Here’s a Million Dollar Idea

Don’t say it’s impossible for you to raise a million dollars. That puts you on the losing side.

The worst that can happen is that you come up with a number of good ideas, but you find they simply aren’t realistic. Or won’t work in your situation.

We try this exercise often with senior staff and, of course, development directors. In a college situation, we include the provost and the deans.

Here’s the exercise. “If you had a million dollar gift, how would you use it? What would be the results of the gift? Who are some of the sources we might go to for the gift? Who is the best person to go to make the solicitation?”

We tried the exercise recently at a Baptist college in the Southeast. It was amazing.

The ideas were coming so fast that they were bouncing off one wall to the next. Finally, the group came up with the names of three people they felt could make a million dollar gift— two men and one woman.

The first person they went to was not interested at all. The second person was not only interested, she was downright excited. She ended up making the gift.

I find that the problem with so many organizations is that they haven’t given their donors and friends a million dollar idea.