Friends connecting over nonprofit

Everybody is a Fundraiser… Or what I like to call a “Friend-raiser”

The other day I met with a client in the restaurant of a hotel.  After the meeting, I realized that I had left my sweater on the back of the dining chair.  The next day I went to retrieve the sweater, but the restaurant had closed for the afternoon.  A hotel staff member was vacuuming the floors, so I said, “Excuse me, I left my sweater on a chair…”  “What?” she interrupted.  “I left my sweater on the back of that chair yesterday and I was wondering…”  Before I finished she barked, “I don’t know nothing.”  Playfully with a smile, I pleaded, “You don’t know anything?”  She said, “no,” turned her back, and walked away.

Thankfully, the valet captain was walking by and overheard the conversation.  He said, come this way.  I said with a wry smile, “She doesn’t know anything.”  He shook his head and said, “No she doesn’t.”  When I retrieved my sweater from lost and found, I thought, “If I was a guest here, would I return?”

By contrast, I had a very different experience at a not-for-profit organization recently.  When I arrived for a meeting, one of the security personnel came across the room when I walked through the door.  He welcomed me with a big smile and a firm handshake.  When I reached the meeting room I recounted my experience to the vice president who said, “We told the staff we had big donors coming today.”  “It was nice that he didn’t discriminate,” I joked.

She said, “You know we are fortunate here.  Everybody gets it.  The other day the receptionist at the front desk came up to me and asked, ‘Do you know the man that just left?  When he comes here, he drives a Bentley.  I think you should get to know him.’”  She is the same person who remembers me when I visit and greets me with a warm, welcoming smile.

When it comes to fundraising, everybody makes a difference.  We don’t know whether the person we greet might be the next big donor to our organization.  But everyone throughout the organization can set the tone by being kind and responsive.  The heart of fundraising is friendraising.  And we can all use more friends.

Does your organization cultivate a team of friendraisers? It isn’t hard to do, and the payoff can be substantial.


AUTHOR - James Mueller

Jim Mueller is president of James Mueller & Associates LLC (JMA), a national consulting firm that provides services in the areas of organizational development, governance, and philanthropy. Follow Jim on LinkedIn.