Introducing donors to other charities will hurt my fundraising efforts for my own charity.
For those folks that know me well, they also know that I am not an avid reader — as a matter of fact, I usually wait for the movie. It must be a result of my ADHD (that’s what I’m telling myself) that I find it hard to concentrate on reading for hours on end. That being said, I do read a handful of books a year and must say that this book is my “go-to” book — I have also given away approximately 50 copies of this book to colleagues, friends and business associates in my life. (So, I will be expecting a fine commission cheque from Tim Sanders any day now.) I have even re-read it (does that count towards my handful of books a year — you be the judge!). See, I am introducing people to Tim Sanders!
At times, the book is a bit beatnik-y and refers to people as lovecats, but if you can get over that, the content is amazing.
“In every appropriate conversation, I think about my collection of contacts. I play it like a game. You mention problem, I think solutions — and I think about solutions in terms of people. For example, if I hear you worrying about refinancing your mortgage, I conjure up my friend Batzi, who has amazing home finance contacts. That’s a match. I transfer the match to conversation — I say ‘You need to meet Batzi. Here’s his phone number. Let’s call him right now.”
One of my most valuable (arguably the most valuable) assets I have is my Rolodex. (am I dating myself?) And, one of my favorite activities is introducing folks. If I have had a good experience with a particular vendor, not only do I thank that vendor, but I try to introduce that vendor to my circles of influence. This has been a great networking tool for me and it has produced some really amazing relationships that I have watched grow.
The same can be said for the support of non-profits. When you get to actually know a donor and find out what they are passionate about, you sometimes learn that while they support your charity, they also would really like to participate more fully in charity ABC, but lack the knowledge of how to get involved. This is where the handy Rolodex comes in and you can revel in introducing that donor with one of your board contacts from charity ABC. Or a staff member from Charity ABC. If more people practiced this type of stewardship, they would see that what goes around comes around — other charities steer their donors to you as well. Believe it folks — it has happened.
The whole book can be summed up as Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You. The book goes from knowledge to networking to compassion — all prerequisites for any successful individual, regardless of profession. The general idea that Sanders presents here is that you should work to maximize your own personal value by learning as much as you can, connecting with as many people as you can, and sharing that knowledge and those connections as freely as possible. By sharing your knowledge and your connections, you multiply your value to others. There’s something inherently healthy and powerful about working for something more than just your personal gain. This does not have to mean putting your own goals aside — quite the opposite — doing something for others may often be the best way of achieving your own goals.
I usually carve out one or two meetings per month purely for the sake of “meet and greet” — whether it is coffee with a new fundraiser in town or having a beer with someone looking to make a change in their life — to keep my finger on the pulse of the community. Yes, fundraisers are a community in and of themselves!
It’s hard to believe but the last of the Top 10 Myths will be published next week.
PS. Speaking of l’chaim, if you haven’t yet tried the Macallan Double Barrel, I highly recommend it.