- Wed, April 04 2007
- Filed under: Partnerships
What a fascinating series of comments to my last post—an interview between commenters on the personal nature of giving and the role of emotion in the process.
Here something Gayle Roberts says that I want to highlight:
For many people, giving fulfills an internal narrative we have for ourselves, a story that we learned as a child or a legacy that we want to leave behind. Exploring that narrative is a great way to clarify our values, finding what motivates us.
As a professional fundraiser, when I have that conversation with someone, I’m trying to discover if the same things that motivate them motivate my agency. If so, there is something to build a partnership on. If not, that’s absolutely okay, for I know I’ve helped them get closer understanding what type of agency might help fulfill their own personal mission in life.
By asking myself these same questions—just as Katya did of other fundraisers—I am reminded once again that fundraising is not merely about raising money, but about helping people put their values into action, finding what brings them joy in life. For as our teacher Hank Rosso once wrote, “fundraising is the gentle art of teaching people the joy of giving.”
I highlight her comment, “...trying to discover if the same things that motivate them motivate my agency. If so, there is something to build a partnership on,” because that’s exceptionally good advice about all kinds of partnerships.
One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “how do I get corporate partner [x] to give me money?”
My answer is always, it’s not about asking for a handout check, it’s about finding the best fit in a corporate partner who can truly advance your mission. A good fit is a corporate partner who wins when you win. Who will share in a mutual benefit if you succeed. Whose business and philanthropic agendas align with yours. There’s joy in that alignment for both parties.
Yesterday’s Washington Post Loop column had a story about what happens when partnership is approached from this lens, instead of the old “who is like us” and “who will write us a check” frameworks. Challenge yourself to be so bold:
Representatives for the Business Roundtable and the US Chapter of Commerce—two meat-eating lobbies if there ever were some—conducted a skull session with people from the [Education Trust, an advocate for poor and minority children], the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights and the National Council of La Raza. They all back common goals for the [No Child Left Behind] Law, including placing more emphasis on math and science, and they lobby both the Democratic and Republican lawmakers to make those goals happen.
The lefty groups want more federal assistance for education, because they favor more government help in general. The corporate folks want the law beefed up, because they think it will improve the quality of the workforce… “It’s not a coalition I ever dreamt I’d be part of,” said Amy Wilkins of Education Trust. “But it seems to be effective.”