Tag Archives: challenge

Challenge The Status Quo

"Change" courtesy of busy.pochi on Flickr
courtesy of busy.pochi on Flickr

“We can’t.”

“Why not?”

Lots of times there isn’t a good reason. Or even an articulable reason.

(Happy New Year! You have my good wishes for 2013! This has nothing to do with that, though I suppose you could adopt “challenge the status quo” as a resolution.)

From questioning the way you track prospect visits to revamping a newsletter concept to adding a theme to an annual dull event, don’t accept that which can be changed–and should be.

Have the courage to question to find out what can be done differently.

There’s just no need to live with that which you can make better. And no one more qualified to call the question than you if you’re in the trenches, on the ground, doing the work, suffering the stupidity.

Question. Challenge. Reject. Revolt.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the only ones who do.

Change doesn’t come in enormous, monumental shifts. It comes from incremental steps.

Take the first step. Ask why.

Nothing is perfect when it first arrives, so don’t let fear of imperfection hold you back. Be willing to make the change, then learn, improve and hone.

A boy scout leader wisely admonished me in my teens: tradition is often a mistake made more than once.

Don’t fear change. Don’t fear the unknown.

Challenge the status quo.

Our Wealthiest Philanthropists Teach Fundraising

NEW YORK - JUNE 26: Bill And Melinda Gates appear on the Charlie Rose Show in the Bloomberg Building  June 26, 2006 in New York.  (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images For Charlie Rose)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $3.7 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) to encourage philanthropy. The RPA will develop free guides about smart giving that will be available for download. Here’s the full story.

We’re in the midst of a recession (I really don’t like “difficult economic times”), with talk about our slight recovery losing steam, and Bill and Melinda Gates are full-steam-ahead encouraging philanthropy: Bravi!

Couple this with their encouraging fellow wealthy families to give away half their wealth during life in a $600 billion challenge, and I see really admirable deeds. I also see reminders for all fundraisers.

They’re soliciting their wealthy friends in a targeted, individual approach, and encouraging giving from the broader constituency, the entire world population, through the RPA activities.

The guides will be on the web in the “Donor Resources” section of the RPA website. I’m assuming they’ll be in many languages. The major gift prospects are getting personal solicitations while those of us who, in comparison, can give through the annual fund, are getting a broader appeal.

Their work is a perfect example of stratifying prospects and devising cultivation and solicitation strategies appropriate to each prospect segment. The largest nonprofits know this and the other 95% can learn.

I’ll talk about this on my radio show on TalkingAlternative.com on Friday, July 23rd at 1PM, Eastern, with guest Kivi Leroux Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide.

This is such exciting news! We want to get this dialogue moving forward.

  • What do you think of this philanthropy push from Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett?
  • What do you think are some ways to get the momentum going and keep it going?

Please leave your comments.

Seek Donors Who Can Motivate Others

President Barack Obama with Bill Clinton courtesy of the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia on Flickr
The Buffett and Gates challenge to their fellow billionaires is similar to what smart nonprofits do all the time: encourage gifts from donors who can motivate others.

Marquee name foundation grants instill confidence in the organization and encourage others to invest in it. Board members can influence others to give.

The testimonial letter should be standard in your fundraising, whether that’s for planned giving or your annual fund. All of these are more powerful than the fundraising or development officer solicitation.

Excepting foundations, it’s the power of a personal referral: “I made a gift, here’s why, and you should, too.”  We all value referrals in our business and personal matters (“Do you know somebody who can . . .?), and they make both parties feel good.

I relish opportunities to refer solid people to my friends. It’s gratifying. And my friends are grateful.

Seek out your donors who can motivate others to follow them, and use their testimonials often.

The $600 Billion Challenge

Warren Buffett & Bill Gates - Bridge @ Borsheims 2007 courtesy of Ethan Bloch on Flickr
This philanthropy challenge to the ultra-wealthy by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates is enormously significant: The $600 Billion Challenge.

It will be remembered as a milestone in the history of philanthropy and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. I got a chill as I read it.

Warren and Bill, I wish you much success.

Your friend,

Tony Martignetti

P.S. What would you like to say to Warren and Bill?

P.P.S. Happy 4th of July!