After hello, then what?

I love this image from the cartoonist and organizational theorist Hugh MacLeod. The drawing, along with Woody Allen’s sage observation that “90 percent of success is just showing up,” pretty much sum up what it takes to succeed as a fundraiser.

But not completely. There’s also what you do with the critical 10 percent.


Once in a blue moon, you get a donor at “hello.” In every other moon, it’s what comes after the greeting that touches hearts and inspires generous giving.

In a recent article, I encouraged fundraisers to get out of the office at least 10 times a month for one-on-ones with current and prospective donors. That’s the 90 percent.

But simply darting about the countryside isn’t likely to influence people or raise much money. Visits should be planned with care — the conversation and call to action tailored specific to the person(s).

There’s no place for one-size-fits-all presentations when meeting with friends of the organization. Folk who are kind enough to let you in the door deserve thoughtfully selected, them-centric information. In other words, make the 10 percent count – for your organization and for the ones with whom you meet.

To be sure, showing up is big part of the fundraiser’s job, but it’s not whole. Preparing yourself for what comes next is the rest.

For more on cultivating relationships with friends of your organization, see:

Tips for getting your toe in the door

Listening for the gift

Out of the mouths of donors

What's your take on this topic?

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