Six Degrees of Fundraising

It happened to me again yesterday in a meeting.

I had traveled to another city conduct a Campaign Strategy Study with a young couple. Before even sitting down in their living room, I was quizzing the couple about their professional backgrounds, their connection to the organization – warm up questions – when I happened to mention a similar organization to which I belong in Atlanta.

“That’s the organization my father is active in,” said one.  And, as it turns out, I know her father well.

How many times have we each had a similar encounter? 

Totally unexpected, we’re talking with a stranger and we find there is a link to someone or to something in their background.

We can call it the “small world” syndrome or even say it plays into the “six degrees of separation .”  But it always amazes me how closely linked we often find ourselves to others.

Because of the linkage I uncovered with that couple – as distant as it was – any barriers to the conversation I was about to have with them about sharing their interests, their concerns, and, yes, even their philanthropy disappeared.

We had a very delightful, open, and fruitful discussion.

It goes without saying (but I’ll repeat it nonetheless), that relationships are vital to the success of raising funds in the nonprofit sector.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if our Board members and other volunteers in our organizations recognize how they can help lessen the “six degrees of separation” between people they know and our organizations?