It’s About Those You Serve

Through the many virtual meetings I have conducted for individuals, boards, and national organizations, I am more aware than ever before of the questions advancement and development teams have in reference to their relationships with donors, preparing for the near and long term future, how to manage campaigns being planned and in progress—well the list goes on.

Many of these conversations centered on the immediate challenges of the organization. I understood. The temptation to focus solely on the needs of your organization is indeed valid.

However, I am reminded that the value you can bring to all concerned during these turbulent times, is to ‘step out of the box’. To provide proper direction for your philanthropic program, the needs of the institution should never be the central theme! Let me explain.

Early on in my career, Jerry Panas gave me a white paper on this subject that revolutionized my thinking.

Myth: People give to meet the needs of an institution.

“It’s vitally important to keep in mind that your organization doesn’t have needs—people do. People have problems, they have concerns, and some live in agony. Your organization has the answer. You have the response. You have the solution to their needs.”

He went on to say: “For so long, I was doing it entirely wrong. I was selling what I considered the need of the organization. When I shifted from that to the need of those who are served, everything fell into place.”

His words left an indelible impression on my work. I encourage you to prepare all communication with donors and leadership with this principle in mind. Remind each individual that it is Because of You that we continue to serve so many. Our focus will always be on those we serve. We will never waver from our mission. It will make all the difference in keeping those valued friends in your ‘institutional hug’ today, and well into the future.