Sunday, November 18

The Things We Think and Do Not Say

Do you remember that scene in Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise stays up all night writing a passionate mission statement and then distributes to his coworkers. He called it, "The Things We Think and Do Not Say" and when he walks in to the office the next day everyone gives his a standing ovation... only for him to be fired less than a week later.

I had this movie clip running through my mind when I came across Marsha Gittleman and James R. Rennert's opinion piece on the website of a Long Island, NY newspaper. Gittleman is director of development and public relations at United Cerebral Palsy of Suffolk and Rennert is province director of development at the Cenacle Sisters.

The two of them criticize the inefficiencies of special event fundraisers. They scold honorees who lend their names for fundraising without ever learning about the nonprofit honoring them or the cause. The authors even shame donors who ask, "what's in it for me?" or who attend fundraisers only because of the social status it brings them.

The directors of development come to the conclusion that if we all really care about the biggest percentage of each gift going to the cause, fundraisers should declare a hiatus in special events and return to personal face-to-face solicitations.
On Long Island for too long, organizations have had a misplaced comfort level in selling tickets to an event rather than promoting a cause.
The real target of this opinion piece does not appear to be the event planners, caterers, and silent auction promotion companies... rather the real target of this piece seems to be fellow development directors who have forgotten how to solicit donations based on the mission of their nonprofit without selling donors a ticket to a gala or an event.


Renee Z. said...

You had me at "hello" fundraiser!

Mike H said...

let's hope these two development directors don't get fired like Jerry Maquire was.

Anonymous said...

they might not get fired, but i bet some caterer leaves a "special" gift bag on their front door step this week.