We are proud to welcome Paul Jolly of Jump Start Growth, Inc. as a new contributor to the MKCREATIVEblog. Paul has spent 25 years as a development professional and consultant to small and mid sized non profits. His focus is helping organizations create transformative relationships with their top donors. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About twenty years ago, I was walking across the living room and saw something flying across the room just behind my shoulder. As I turned, I saw that my three year old son Travis had leaped off the armrest of the sofa, and landed on the floor behind me and burst into tears. I picked him up to comfort him, and through his sobs, he said, “I forgot to warn you.” (He hadn’t mastered the “r” sound yet, so it sounded like “woan”.) Which got me thinking about how donors sometimes do things that the charities they are supporting didn’t expect. But we still want to catch them!
Sometimes donors fly toward charities in acts of affection as extravagant as my son’s leap from the sofa, and forget to give warning. They may instruct their brokers to wire stocks into your account, without telling you. They may show up unexpected at a gala after you did an all-nighter shuffling the seating chart. They may invite their young children to hear you talk about your organization, when you hope for an intimate discussion about their giving.
Michael is the patron saint of paratroopers, and, by extension, of all people in freefall, hoping for a safe landing. Being a fund raiser requires good peripheral vision, good reflexes, and a lot of flexibility. If you see someone flying at you − hopefully a donor − in a fit of exuberance, try to catch him or her. And having lots of cushions lying around is probably a good idea, too.