Institute for Charitable Giving

blue rule

Working with a Client

blue rule

A man is walking along the hills when he is hailed by someone in a balloon above him. The balloonist shouts, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man below says, “Yes. You are in a hot air balloon. You are hovering approximately 30 feet above this field— which is 41.81 degrees North latitude, and 87.68 degrees West longitude.”

“You must be a fundraising consultant,” says the balloonist.

“I am,” replies the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct— but of absolutely no practical value, because I have no idea what to make of your information and so I am still lost.”

The man below responds, “You must be a client.”

“I am,” replies the balloonist. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you are going. You have made a promise without any idea of how you might keep it. And though you only sought my assistance when it was already too late to do anything about your problem, you nevertheless expect me to solve it. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before you consulted me, but now it is somehow my fault.


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