Territoriality And Raising Money While You Sleep


There is a characteristic that most financially successful people share:  They make money while they sleep.  This characteristic refers to the fact that financially successful folks have figured out a way to extend their ability to make money beyond their own efforts.

They have saved and invested their capital in ways that earns them interest and/or earnings 24 hours per day.  Or they have created a business operation which works even while they sleep.  Or some combination of the two.  The point is they are making money in ways that don’t depend on their own labor.

Similarly, the very best development professionals share this characteristic.  They reach out to others in the enterprise, they partner, they engage volunteers, they extend their ability to raise money beyond their own efforts. They understand that being strategic and involving others of influence with donors typically results in larger gifts being made.  As one multi-million donor once bluntly told me,

“The asker matters.”

So, why don’t we see more development professionals today reaching out to “natural partners” across silos within the institution, or working with volunteers on donor strategy, or partnering with institutional leaders to raise more money? One significant reason is due to a sense of territoriality some development professionals have for their assigned donors and prospects. These misguided prospect managers view their role as being the one who must invite the donor to give, instead of the one who must ensure that the donor receives the very best gift invitation.

“But,” you say, “its not the fault of the development professional, its the system.  The reason development professionals can be territorial is because they are evaluated on how much money they raise individually, and not on how much gets raised.”

And if you are a development leader then you should know that this, of course, is the real problem.


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