Hey, I’ve been in Development 20 years now and constantly I hear and study the words “stewardship” and “cultivation”! If interview someone for a development position and they don’t immediately smile with relief when responding to these 2 magic words, I immediately sense they’re likely not right for this department. And, of-course, everyone wants to “cultivate” the Big Spender!
Last week a great friend of mine and a true “Big Spender” ( super philanthropist) gave a huge birthday bash in PDX! I mean huge!
SHOWTIME! A big band, singer, show girls and great musical numbers and hilarious roast made the program a smash! #1 hit for me was “Hey Big Spender,” performed by 15 Executive Directors from non-profits that my friend supports! Everyone cheered, laughed, enjoying the hilarious musical moment!
By morning my thoughts are consumed by how and why these partnerships formed. Why are they working so well for both my friend and the non-profits? They both certainly seem to get a lot out from the mutual relationship and that’s always why good relationships work, right?
Every development officer in PDX worth their salary has called my friend, trying to “cultivate” a fundraising relationship. If they are successful, then the “stewarding” sets in! Makes me wonder, who gets through and why! What is the winning formula?
So I asked my friend, how about Skypeing an interview with me about your non-profit partners, what do you look for in a non-profit for them to get to partner status? He said OK!
Preparing for this interview I went to Youtube and viewed Philanthropy thought leaders that have interviewed in this area and one sophisticated philanthropist, a lady, really resonated with me, hence the “Cultivation if for Potatoes” title!
She said, “I have a pet peeve and it’s cultivation! Do Not Cultivate Me, I am Not a Potato!”
She went on to say that she did not want any ‘tchotchkes,’ spend her donation on projects, projects that solve the problems you are working on together.
I’m excited to interview my big spender friend and find out just what it takes to get him interested in a non-profit partnership.
Can you imagine all the calls he gets every day from development peeps in Oregon? How does he decide? How do other big non-profit spenders and philanthropists make their decisions? He does not have a foundation or board and can decide to big spend on the spur of the moment! This can make a fundraiser giddy with delight, don’t you think?
Okay, I will be back to blog some answers soon so stay tuned, check back, and would love to hear your thoughts on cultivation, big spenders, tchotchkes, or anything else!