The Delusion of the In-Person Visit

If we’ve learned anything over the last 6 months its that development officers and performance metrics’ systems myopically focused on meeting in-person donor visit goals have struggled to adapt.

That’s because the real work has never been about the in-person donor visit.

The real work has always been about creating learning opportunities and experiences so that others become better educated on the need.

The real work has always been about helping others understand the authentic joy and peace that comes with behaving generously and encouraging them to decide to receive that joy and peace.

The real work has always been to believe in the awesome personal and communal power of generosity ourselves and, then, serve as a sort-of generosity-sherpa  for others.

The real work has always been creative, intuitive, affective, collaborative, demiurgic, and instructive.

And yes, of course doing this real work is easier when we can be in-person with donors.

In more “normal times,” the in-person donor visit can help determine if the real work is being done. But a short-sighted focus on in-person donor visits has always been a delusion.

The visit itself was only a pathway to the real work.  The visit was never the real work.

What has come into fantastic relief today is the fact that skilled and willing development professionals are doing every bit of the real work from a distance.  Discovery, cultivation, gift invitation, and stewardship all are being done without the stepladder of in-person visits.


By embracing the fact that the goal was never to be in-person.  It was always to do the real work.


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