Plan B: Satisfying Your Soul

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As I write this, I know I am among millions whose hopes and dreams were deflated in an instant last night as the Powerball jackpot winning numbers were announced. We all had grandiose ideas about what we would do with such an unfathomable sum of money and many of us included significant philanthropic efforts on our multi-millionaire agendas.  For me, that wasn’t just the politically correct thing to say. It was a sincere and passionate desire.  I have actually fantasized about the moment I would walk into the office of our CEO and gently break the news to her that I would be submitting my resignation—but that she needn’t worry because I would be giving Colorado Cancer Research Program (CCRP) a contribution so significant, they wouldn’t need to raise another dollar for at least several  years—and they could hand out a few grand to every cancer patient who has ever been in their care.  But, as fate would have it, that particular dream sequence in my self-created fantasy wasn’t in the cards.  So, on to plan B.

To set the tone for Plan B, I’m reminded of what Arnold Palmer once said about the game of golf.  “It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”  I like that part about satisfying the soul.  Even the most inept of golfers often say the same thing. It’s a game that feels good.  The same is true for charity and philanthropy.  I often talk about one of the top reasons people give to charities—because it feels good.  It warms the heart and it satisfies the soul. So, it would stand to reason that when you put the two together, satisfaction of the soul is even greater.  But I’ll come back to that in a moment.

I’ve learned that it’s easier for people to understand what I do for a living if I simply say that I’m a non-profit fundraising professional—or NPFP for short.  For many, the title of Development Director always requires further explanation.  I’ve often joked with colleagues, who are also NPFPs, at the various, sometimes self-deprecating sobriquets we have given ourselves over the years, including Professional Panhandler, Shameless Beggar, Money-Groveler and Anything Goes Guy/Gal.  Personally, I prefer Incomparable Miracle Worker.

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I’m also a bit of a non-conformist—a rebel-with-a-cause, if you will—and, as such, I’ve never been afraid to try unconventional approaches and/or challenge the status quo when I felt it was warranted.  Sometimes, you have to bend and even break the rules.  That’s how things change and improve.  It’s how things evolve.

Back in 2005, we were first hearing about this new marvel of modern communication called “social media.”   Our team was attending a seminar presented by two rather persnickety and fastidious women who were considered experts in the public relations industry.  To this day, it was one of the most valuable seminars I’ve ever attended.   As part of their presentation, these two—the Miss Manners and Emily Post of the social media world—covered the rules of social media engagement, most of which seemed like no-brainers.  But there was one thing in the invisible rule book with which I took issue. We were told that with our Facebook posts, we should strive for once daily and should NEVER exceed two per day.  My first thought was that if people enjoyed reading our posts and they felt engaged in a way that made them want more, then why not deliver?  After putting it to the test, my hunch was proven correct and the number of people engaged with our organization through social media tripled over the next month.  Once in a while, the rules need to be challenged.

golf1a1-800Similarly, there are accepted standards and practices for fundraising, including a few protocols that have long been debated.  One of my faves is the do-or-don’t controversy involving the inclusion of remit envelopes with thank-you letters. In other words, when thanking a donor for a monetary gift, do you include an envelope as a way to subtly ask for even more money? Many non-profits do and, much to my surprise, I’ve seen it work time after time.  And then there are the theories about acquiring event sponsors.  Back in that social media seminar, we were told it was not a “best practice” to appeal for sponsors through social media (too impersonal, so they said)—so by those standards, I am now violating the rules by including a business proposal in a blogpost.  By the way, that rule has since been proven wrong , so there is no need to report me to the social media gestapo.  Since I didn’t win Powerball last night, it means I am unable to fork out a few million in charitable dollars for CCRP, so it’s back to shameless begging as a strategy.  And, with that, I’m asking for your help.  But you’ll enjoy it, it will satisfy your soul and if you opt to respond to my plea with at least a “maybe,” rest assured you will be offered a more personal approach involving coffee, lunch, a beer or just a casual conversation, all while among very charming and pleasant company.

So now that it has been established that no rules are being violated, here’s how you can help. Charitable golf tournaments are always popular, in part because players’ proficiency levels run the gamut, from highly skilled to “are you sure you’ve played this game before?”  It’s a day of fun with friends and colleagues, old and new, getting away from the office all day and doing it in a typically beautiful Colorado setting—all  while making a difference in the world.  It’s playtime for a cause.  So that brings me to the 10th annual Drive for a Cure, benefiting Colorado Cancer Research Program (CCRP). We would love to have you there.  Additionally, we need to expand involvement from the business community.  On Monday, May 23 at Valley Country Club in Centennial participants from all over metro Denver will come together for 18 holes of bogies and birdies, hazards and handicaps, all in support of a very important cause.  Starting right now, you can scoop up a foursome for your business, your golf pals or your organization.  And one more time—WE NEED SPONSORS.  I like to ask people to look at it from a slightly different perspective: that it’s a win-win for everyone.  Your company benefits by getting involved with an organization as important as CCRP and by doing something that truly matters.  And you benefit by having your soul satisfied.  It’s a chance to be part of the team that will, one day soon, make history as we finally achieve the ultimate goal of a cure for cancer.

Aside from your soul being immensely satisfied, there are some rather nice perks involved, in fact too many to list individually here.  Suffice it to say that sponsorships include foursomes, impressive promotional and marketing opportunities (who doesn’t love their company logo prominently displayed on a billboard at a high-traffic location in metro Denver?), fun freebies and so much more. Plus, it’s a great way to network your business, to court potential new clients, to thank current clients or to reward staff for jobs well done—and to be able to say, “We’re helping to cure cancer.  What did you do today?”  You can’t put a price tag on that.

To become involved with Drive for a Cure, for sponsorship details or to find out more information, please give me a call at 720.475.5740 or you can shoot me an email here. If you’d like to make a donation to CCRP, click here.

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