One of the reasons I decided to enter the field of fundraising was knowing I would meet some incredible people. Not only has that happened but this work has taken me around the world to places I never dreamed I would go. Some of those places are amongst the poorest.
A few years back I was invited to a meeting at a Consulate in NYC. That meeting led to a trip to the UK to visit the site of a proposed project (some would call it a vision) and to discuss how best to fundraise for it. It amounted to about $8 million. We submitted a proposal to develop and implement a capital campaign both in the UK and US. As with a lot of organizations who don’t have a budget for consultants, we were not formally engaged but we stayed close to our new friends.
What they had was a “champion.” Someone in the UK who was respected, could make a major gift to the campaign and believed so strongly in the project that it became their passion. The other day I received the article about the opening ceremony and the dignitaries from the US and UK who attended. This is the beginning of an amazing journey for this organization. I’m sure that 100 years from now a large group of supporters will celebrate its 100th Anniversary.
There is a saying that if your vision can be accomplished in your lifetime then it’s not big enough. I’m sure many of the organizations that started 100 years ago could have never envisioned where they would be. One only has to look at the humble beginnings of the many educational institutions in this country to understand the power of vision and a commitment to it.
Keep dreaming big. There are plenty of people who will tell you it can’t be done. Find the right person who will come alongside you and be your champion. If you don’t have one yet, then go out and find them.
Can your organization’s vision be accomplished in your lifetime? If so, think bigger.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
– Maya Angelou
Founder and Chairman