Institute for Charitable Giving

Great Fundraisers Read

The great fundraisers read. They read everything in sight. They read incessantly and compulsively.

Sadly, when I talk with many of my clients and when I give Seminars, I find that too many development people don’t read. Part of the problem is one of having enough time. The other part of the problem is they don’t take the time.

The great fundraisers read everything they can get their hands on. There are magazines common to them— The Harvard Business Review, Harper’s, and Forbes. And then, just to get a feeling for what’s going on in the circles of some of their donors, there’s Town & Country, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair. And plenty more.

And then there are the books. Everything professional that will help sharpen their skills and know-how. And everything else that’s recreational.

For those who read, it creates an environment that challenges people to think in ways they haven’t before— to consider new possibilities and shatter the status quo.

William McGowan is founder and was chairman of the board of Control Data. He was a voracious reader. He could plow through books, business publications, newspapers, general-interest periodicals, and specialized newsletters.

An associate remembers when McGowan was a guest of his for a weekend visit in Florida. Soon after McGowan arrived, a box was delivered which was stuffed with magazines, reports, company memorandum, and books. McGowan perused all of these as he floated in the guest’s swimming pool.

It’s not a matter of whether you have enough time. You make the time. You read.


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