Real talk… nonprofit development people need to not be so development-y all the time. We should always be aware, and we should always be mindful, but this isn’t Glengarry Glen Ross — we need not always be closing.
I recently volunteered at a friend’s fundraising event. My tasks were simple… greet donors, tell them where they’re sitting, and direct them to the restrooms. Sure, I recognized some donors to my own organization, and some of them recognized me, but I was there as a traffic cop, not a nonprofiteer.
At one point, a fellow volunteer we’ll call “Clementine” (also a fundraiser for another nonprofit) veered away from the table and began chatting up guests. How nice, I thought. So friendly, I thought. Until I realized Clementine was being smarmy and development-y for her own organization.
It was gross. And worse than that, it was transparent. The donors were there to enjoy a great event for this nonprofit, not Clementine’s nonprofit. Stuff like this happens a lot, especially with fundraisers who can’t “turn it off.” It’s the kind of behavior which gives nonprofits a bad name.
What’s the point? Well, I think donors and stakeholders deserve better. It’s as if you went for a haircut, and there in the waiting area was a salesperson pouncing on you about Lasik. It’s a great big sector out there, and we’re all vying for the same resources. It might seem counterintuitive, though I don’t believe the way to get those resources is to pounce on every seemingly available contributor you see.
So everybody calm down. Especially you, Clementine — slow your roll.