Wisdom Wednesdays: What do You Need?

by Jon Dize

What’s in your Wallet?

No, I’m not asking you to empty the contents of your wallet for a gift (unless you want to!).

The once-popular TV credit card commercial would run through all the wonderful things that the person or family could do with just the right piece of plastic in their grasp.

playmobil-penI’d like to challenge every nonprofit leader, board chair and finance staff member with the following question: If someone were to walk into your office today and say, “I have $100,000 (or $10,000, or $1,000) to give.  What do you need?,” would you have an answer?

“Sure, I would,” you quickly reply.  But do you really?  Given 30 minutes, you could think up all kinds of wants and needs, but if put on the spot, could you whip out a piece of paper (or bring up that PDF on your iPad) to show this dream donor the projects, programs, dreams, etc., where his or her money could make a noticeable impact?  Could you produce that piece of paper that could help you do all of the wonderful things you talk about in those long board meetings?

I challenge you to write that list now.  Type it into an email on your phone.  Or ink up the napkin in front of you.  Now.

To help get the thought process going, think of the following:

  • Capital campaign needs (these items are probably the first pictures to enter your head)
  • Other capital needs (the preschool director does keep mentioning they need new carpeting)
  • Endowment needs (wouldn’t it be great?).
  • Technology needs (the Windows XP computers are a bit slow in the volunteer offices nowadays … )
  • New program ideas (Marketing?  Expansion?)
  • Constituent needs (donor recognition dinner!)
  • Outreach needs (the carnival will be a blast next year)
  • Staffing needs (now we can hire that advancement guy Dize keeps talking about!)

Dize-Jon Headshot 2014Go ahead and write down the pie-in-the-sky ideas as well as the $500 bench in the garden.  You never know what will ring true with that cheerful giver sitting in your office waiting for your list.

Make sure to also place a good guesstimate on the cost of the items on your list, and even rank them in order of cost and what you would want first.

Did I mention that you should make this list now?  You never know when God will present the opportunity.  Heck, you could even keep your list in your wallet.

Jon Dize, CFRM, serves as the Director of Advancement for The Lutheran Schools Partnership in Fort Wayne, Ind.  He is also President of the Indiana-Michigan Chapter ALDE.  Contact him at jond@tlspartnership.org(260) 203-4510, on LinkedIn or via Twitter: @JonDize17.

Upper right photo credit: orangeacid, on www.everystockphoto.com  

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2 thoughts on “Wisdom Wednesdays: What do You Need?

  1. Nice job and a great exercise. That’s why our annual fund brochure is such a valuable tool to have at your finger tips.

    • Good point! Even go so far as to formalize the list to make an effective catalog of what’s needed. Just don’t print too many (probably print on demand) as needs are constantly changing/fulfilled.

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