Institute for Charitable Giving

You Are an Innovation-Machine

You are an innovation-machine. An incubator of ideas. A problem solver. A game changer.

You understand that you cannot increase the size of the gift without enhancing the planning and the decisiveness of the strategy.Planning, innovation, and implementation are the seeds from which winning takes root and grows.

There are actually times that to gain, you must yield. In developing strategy, you look into the future through a rearview mirror. For instance, you read a book from the beginning to the end.

But you develop a fundraising strategy the opposite way. You start with the end, the objective you wish to achieve— and then you work backwards. You do everything you must to reach your objective.

Admit it! At times you feel like the little boy with a big dog— waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take you there. Doing the research for a top probable donor is sometimes like looking for a black cat in a dark room. It’s not easy to see your objective.

It can be frustrating. You have to break the bonds of custom and restrain.

Developing a strategy for making the call on the top probable donor is like looking for that black cat. And you understand that at times, there actually isn’t even a black cat.

Our work is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving. To be truly creative, you lose your fear of being wrong. You find your great joy in the zest of high adventure and of victory.

You view every situation as if you were looking through a kaleidiscope. A little jiggle here, a joggle there, a wiggle up and down— and you look at everything in countless, wondrous, and magical ways.

The other day, I watched two elderly men in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. They were playing chess. Totally immersed and deeply absorbed in their match. At one point, after staring at the board for several minutes, the one man got up and walked behind his opponent. He wanted to see the chess board from his opponent’s perspective.

At times, to be truly creative and successful, you have to look at how the other person views things. Think outside the box. Does the rooster crow because the sun rises? Or does the sun rise because the rooster crows?

The good news is that because of your innovative strategy and approach, you will get the gift. At the hoped-for level. And to the great joy of the donor.


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