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Ann Laura

Ann Laura

For me, fundraising and communications go together like peanut butter and jelly – delicious & filling!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Barbra_Streisand_-_1966.jpgThese are not the headlines you want to see the day before your new museum opens:  

If Kennesaw State University administrators had not heard of the Streisand Effect* before, I bet they have now.

"The Streisand Effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet" (source)

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b2ap3_thumbnail_mariposa.jpgIn researching my timeline of Philanthropy in Pop Culture, I came across a real gem of a short story: The Whirlwind Campaign in Mariposa. It was written by Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock (1869 - 1944) in 1912 as part of the collection Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. It's a tale of a small town trying to emulate a fundraising activity witnessed by one of their own in the big city. Their version has all of the trappings and none of the substance. Fundraisers today will recognize many of the characters in the story.

"… Mullins got up again, and beat on the table for silence and made one of those crackling speeches—just the way business men speak—the kind of speech that a college man simply can't make. I wish I could repeat it all. I remember that it began: 'Now boys, you know what we're here for, gentlemen,' and it went on just as good as that all through. When Mullins had done he took out a fountain pen and wrote out a cheque for a hundred dollars, conditional on the fund reaching fifty thousand. And there was a burst of cheers all over the room.

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Are you having trouble getting qualified applicants for your open development positions? One reason may be that your job announcements are … not good. Many of them remind me of the Shackleton Expedition recruitment ad without the chance for honor and recognition. Here are a few common elements I’ve seen that make me say, “Nope, nope, nope.”

The Kitchen Sink Approach

Problem: Responsibilities sections that give me a ulcer just to read them. No matter the size of a development shop, there’s always more that could be done. A talented fundraiser will be able to prioritize and focus efforts where they are most likely to yield results. Related to this is the all too common combo development/communications position. Those are two big jobs that require different skill sets. In practice, one almost always ends up taking a back seat to the other.

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