Sometimes the donor isn’t right

The premier video in a new series from titled “Business Boxing” provides a humorous take on a serious question: Is the customer always right?

What if we substituted donor for customer?

In Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry, Thom Jeavons and I caution that there are times when what a donor wants isn’t best for the organization.

We saw this at an organization where the leadership team turned down the opportunity for a substantial grant to start a youth project after determining there wasn’t sufficient interest among the program staff to sustain the initiative for the longer term. This was not an easy decision, and the executive director continues to think about what might have been, but he knows it was the right thing to do. ‘It hurts to turn aside a potential grant, but it would have hurt us more to launch a major project without the wholehearted suport of key individuals,’ he said. Deliberate and informed discussion of how a new initiative fits with existing program can safeguard against venturing into territory where the organization does not have, and probably cannot generate, the resources to go.

Sometimes we do have to walk away from a gift, as counter-intuitive as that sounds to most fundraisers. When our confidence is fixed on God’s abundance, we can rest in the confidence that the “right” gift will come if we are faithful in seeking it.

What's your take on this topic?

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