Let It Go!

I finally gave in!

Over the holidays, I sat down to view Disney’s animated hit movie “Frozen” in the comfort and privacy of my own home.  My youngest great-niece convinced me that it would be worth my time – and it was! In fact, I’ve watched it two other times since.

For nearly a year prior, I’d been humming and singing the break-out hit tune from Frozen, “Let it Go,” sung by Indina Menzel.  It’s one of those tunes that you simply can’t get out of your head.

Of course, this is the song that Elsa sings after being cast out of her community, essentially, for being “different” she belts out “Let it go, let it go; Can’t hold it back anymore…”

As I sat to begin writing this blog, the music played through my head and I thought: “what are some things which some of our nonprofits today simply need to ‘let go’?”  Here are three that came to mind:

  1. Donors in your organization complaining about “donor fatigue.” I’d venture to say that 99% of the time that Board members and development officers complain about their constituents suffering from donor fatigue, the problem is actually related to an organization that has done a weak job of informing donors about how their last gifts were used effectively to change lives or accomplish the mission of the organization. Stop complaining about donor fatigue – let it go!
  2.  Lead donors in an organization who say “you’re going back to the same ‘well’ again; you need to ask others for support!”  As Be Haas, one of the founders of our firm often said, the reason we ask the same wealthy individuals who’ve supported our organizations in the past to continue their support can be relegated to the Willy Sutton syndrome. A famous bank robber in the 1920’s, when asked by reporter why he had a habit of robbing banks over and over again, Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is!” Should you stop asking major donors who’ve supported your organization in the past? Not necessarily. As for this argument, let it go!
  3.  Volunteers who have good relationships or friendships with major donors yet say they won’t solicit them “because they will want me to support a cause of theirs in return.” We all know that fundraising is about relationships, and if we care passionately about causes with which we’re involved and seek support for those we know, it’s only natural that we should expect they will ask us to support a cause of theirs. It’s not the end of the world. That’s how philanthropy works.  So, get rid of your fear of asking your friends to support an organization about which you care! Afraid of asking your friends? Let it go!

You may not agree with my cursory swipe at three challenges that I often hear as a consultant. And I don’t mean to be “flip” about the responses. However, if you use your experience and skills as a good fundraiser, you can easily determine ways to move beyond the spoken challenges and to determine there may be other issues behind the initial concern.

Just like Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Oloff, you’ll discover “a true act of love!” And it may be someplace where you haven’t thought to look!!

(If you aren’t already humming the tune, enjoy this clip and sing along!)