Institute for Charitable Giving

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The Law of Minor Concessions

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When you move from one home to another, they say that three moves are equal to one complete fire. I can identify with that.

Are you a little bit like I am? We still have unopened boxes in storage from four moves ago. I opened one of those boxes the other day and discovered a treasure.

When Harold Seymour wrote “Designs for Giving,” he produced one of the most valuable, read and reread books in the history of our profession.

I was actually looking for my college yearbook. Instead,— going through my box in storage, I came across a three-ring binder.  It contained the unpublished writings of Si Seymour. It was a little over 100 typed pages. (You do remember what a typewriter was, don’t you!)

There were beautiful gems throughout.

For instance, what he calls the Law of Minor Concessions. “To win wars, you don’t have to win all the battles. Professional fundraisers may fatten their own egos by insisting on having everything go their own way, and may rationalize such attitudes as being in the best interest of the cause.

“But there is no easier way to lose friends, board members, and volunteers. To yield on minor points actually makes it easier to gain major decisions.

“This also has a bearing on that always dangerous subject of ‘credit.’ I think that the volunteer takes the credit, and the professional takes the rap— that to seek credit is to lose it, and that to avoid credit usually results in getting more than you really deserve.”

How I came in possession of this lost manuscript is a wonderful story. You will be hearing more from me on the genius of Si Seymour and the unpublished book.


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