We want donors to make commitments at a higher level than they have ever considered. We want them to stretch beyond their comfort zone.
This big step is about more than money. Their act becomes a defining point in their lives. It says: “This is what I value. I believe in the cause and see the potential.”
Money is leadership.
This investment sends a message to all around. It is moral leadership — a courageous deed that says, “This is right, this is what we should do. And I’m willing to step out like never before.”
That kind of leadership-by-example asks people to reconsider what they’ve thought appropriate for their own level of giving.
An investment is especially powerful and irresistible when it’s a real stretch, both financially and in mindset — challenging “the way we’ve always done things.”
The large commitment, when early, is most crucial.
It gives people confidence. It excites them. It grows in their eyes the value and worth of this cause.
Our focus must be on wise investment.
The key person who leads the way has been smart with their money, maybe even “frugal” good stewards. We want them to be seen as careful and thoughtful — and to also be wise and investment-minded, looking at the long view.
Because when this smart money steps forward, heads turn.
It will take something different — something truly significant — to move them, to shift them from business-as-usual and asking “what’s the minimum it will take to get by?” to seeing how their act can be instrumental in activating the potential in front of them, and redefining what’s possible.
Making that shift has been the secret of the success of every winning campaign I know.
How do we call donors to the highest expression of their leadership?
It’s simple. We use this breakthrough strategy: The organization itself has the opportunity to make an investment in its future.
That will get the attention of those who can lead philanthropically. (That’s true if people learn directly from the organization of its self-investment, or they only sense it from the organization’s leaders.)
For example, the Cathedral Foundation in Jacksonville Florida, made an unprecedented investment in its future. Its board chair called it “a bold step that requires vision and faith in ourselves.”
That’s the kind of investment that transforms the organization from inside out … with a bold and decisive step.
But we also have the power to jeopardize success
In this way, a campaign is like a business. The greatest risk is at the outset, when most vulnerable to the effects of undercapitalization. Or like a startup where the venture capitalists expect those at the center to put up their money first, evidencing their confidence.
An organization’s investment in its own future is actually an investment in attracting the right kind of leadership. And that’s the most strategic step that can be taken to attract the first-class attention of first-class leaders.