You’ve heard these well-worn proverbs before:
“It’s not what you have, it’s who you have.”
“It’s not what you know, its who you know.”
The central theme of these old saws is, of course, that people matter more than things. The people who you count as close will have a larger impact on the quality of your life than will the house you live in, the car you drive, and the other stuff you accumulate. The people in your life will add far more meaning and value than will things, including knowledge.
Most people accept this idea, on its face, as true. Focusing on things, information, knowledge, stuff, etc., shouldn’t be the goal if you want to enjoy a richly-lived life. Instead, we should focus on people and relationships if we want to experience the most meaning.
So. . .
The next time a gift officer on your team asks with frustration, “How am I supposed to visit with prospective donors when our case statement isn’t completed?” quietly remind her of this truth. The next time someone says, “I need more research on this prospect before I call,” gently prompt him to make the call anyway. And the next time you hear, “If I don’t have the architect renderings, what am I supposed to bring to show prospective donors?” encourage a re-thinking of the task at hand.
In development, just as in life in general, we end up richer – in all ways – when we make who our focus and make what a secondary concern. Concentrate primarily on personally getting to know your prospects. By comparison, the impact of materials, research, and information on your success is peripheral at best.