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Don’t we all speak the same language?

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07/17/2014

Don’t we all speak the same language? photo

You would think that fundraisers and finance professionals would get along. I mean, they both speak in terms of numbers, they both focus on amounts raised and they both obsess over what is done with it. However, when the two collide it is as if a translator is needed in order to communicate. I just don’t get it! Don’t we all speak the same language?

Both fundraisers and finance professionals may speak in numbers, but those numbers are extremely different. Throughout my career in the fundraising world, I was focused on the number of people who would come to events, how much each person would donate, the total we would raise and of course the impact we were having on the cause. In my career in the finance world, those numbers changed to how much someone has, how much their money is growing and what the impact is that they can make with it. We all have the same end goal, so why can’t we understand one another?

I believe that it all comes down to what is behind the process. In my last article, I talked about how we all need a process in order to succeed. The steps of the process may be the same in finance and fundraising, but how we view those steps are drastically different. Let me show you what I mean.

Step 1Research: For finance this means statistics, past results, crunching numbers, but for fundraising this means collecting information, talking to donors.

Step 2 – Romance: Okay, romance may always mean love, passion and desire, but are you romancing the person the way they want or the way you want them to be romanced? In fundraising you find what makes the person tick, what do they want to see and then you show it to them. In finance you find out what they should see, what has been successful and then show the person why they should want it.

Step 3 – Request: This is a bit tricky as this is when, in a sense, the tables turn. In finance we are requesting trust (which will then lead to money) while in fundraising it is often times money (which will lead to trust). In both cases, we are requesting that the person think about the future and what they can do to improve it, for themselves or others.

Step 4 – Recognize: Do we recognize with stellar returns? Thank you notes? Success stories? Yes and yes. In this case, we ALL speak the same language. What is good is good, not matter what field it is in. Recognition is great, no matter what language we speak!

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