Define Reality and say “Thank You.”

25 years ago when I was just starting out my career in which I was responsible for raising money, I was given Max Dupree’s then new book, Leadership is an Art.”

Max Dupree died peacefully in his home in Grand Rapids, MI On Aug 8th, 2017. Max Dupree’s most famous quote was “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.”

Defining Reality

The framework for Taking Donors Seriously is Case, Leadership, Prospect, Strategy and Plan. My job was to assess which of these items did I have in place and which of these items I needed to address:

  • Do I have an updated case statement that reflects this year’s budget and plan
  • Do I have a leadership team that is helping with fundraising
  • Do I have a segmented donor list?
  • Do I have a strategy that identifies the least number of donors to raise the most amount of money?
  • Do I have a fundraising plan and am I following it?

Your job as a leader is to define reality about how your organization is doing with the TDS framework and then create a plan to implement that gets you back on track.?

Saying “Thank You”

We recommend that for every time you ask a donor to make a gift to your organization, you say thank you three times before you ask them for another gift. Our experience is that most fundraisers simply do not take the time to say thank you in a meaningful way.

Your job as a leader is to define reality and say thank you. How are you and your organization doing with each of the 5 fundamentals of TDS? When was the last time you said thank you to your donors in a relational way?

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