Several years ago I was at a donor function for my alma mater and the university that started me on the professional fundraising services path (it helps to have a great football team to bring donors together). I’ve known some of the people in attendance for 30 years, and they consistently have supported the university. There were many people in the room who have written seven figure gifts and some who most likely will for the current campaign.
There have been several presidents appointed to the university since I worked there. The interesting thing, though, is that the fundraising vision — which was drawn out long before I started working as one of their development directors — is still being carried out. I’m sure there were people who thought it was an impossible dream and some would never believe the amount of money that has been raised. The first campaign was less than $100 million, and they are now raising several billion dollars. How does this happen?
You have to have a fundraising vision and a plan. You need leadership and determination. I heard it once said that “if your vision can be accomplished in your lifetime, then it isn’t big enough.” It is what we do. We plan and work towards a greater good. All the hard work that you are doing today may not feel like progress, but I believe it is. I met with an executive director working with a ministry that started as a homeless shelter over 100 years ago. I’m sure the person who started that could not have envisioned the impact on those lives served over that time period.
One of the four critical elements of successful fundraising is having a clear fundraising vision or case for support. Think big. We know the money is there, and we also know that it is hard work developing key relationships, but the dividends pay off generations to come.
Do you need to readjust your fundraising vision? Who is responsible for the vision — your board, your executive director? Where do you see your organization 25 years from now?
“This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”
Founder and Chairman