Our culture celebrates those with the grit, determination, force of will, and interpersonal skills to bend reality in their favor.
It can be easy, for instance, to embrace the notion that the best development folk, “never take ‘no’ for an answer” from a donor.
The effective fundraisers, this ubiquitous thinking goes, are the ones with the knack to convince a donor, or persuade a prospect, or sway the skeptic. These benevolent svengalis keep at it until the answer from others is some version of, “yes, I will give.”
This way of thinking assumes that the primary goal of the best development officers is to get everyone to give. Accepting a “no” from a donor is not only viewed as an antithetical outcome, it is failure.
But there is another, more helpful understanding of the effective development officer.
This is the view of the development officer who seeks to identify, engage, encourage, and guide those donors and prospects who are at least interested in, or willing to give.
In this model, the primary goal is not to get everyone to give. In fact, hearing a “no,” or “not right now” response from a donor is viewed as a very helpful outcome!
Instead, the primary goal is to identify those who may be inclined to give and, then, strengthen those relationships such that, over time, generosity becomes a more important component of their lives.
Taking “no” for an answer is not a failure. It actually benefits the real work. It gives us more time to identify those who genuinely are interested and, then, go deeper with them.
And that’s what the best development officers actually do.
This article was originally posted on Jason’s Blog in December 2023. To read more, visit www.jasonmcneal.com.