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Perfect Pitch: How Mad Men is Like Fundraising

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When Don Draper is on his game, he's the best there is. He would have been a hell of a fundraiser. You're probably wondering how a guy who would say "What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons," could possibly have the right perspective for nonprofit work. I'm not saying we need to start drinking, smoking, and cheating on our significant others. I'm saying that Don really gets what speaks to customers (donors for us) and he knows it.

 

"There's the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash if they have a sentimental bond."

Don's carousel pitch is all about engagement. (He made Harry cry! But in a good way.) If this had been a major gift ask, the check would have been written before the last slide popped up. My only quibble is that engagement doesn't have to be a rare occasion – we cultivate it all the time!

 

"You're a nonbeliever. Why should we waste time on kabuki?"

Convincing entrenched, old-school executives that there's a better way to make a case for support can be … difficult. But sometimes you just know you are right. Sometimes it's the hill you are willing to die on.

 

"Who is this moron flying around space? I mean, he pees in his pants!"

Knowing what donors want is one thing. But are you sure you know who your donors are? Are you even talking to the right people? The way they want to be talked to? You don't have to get inspiration from a mistress to figure this one out. Do your research!

 

"There's no American history, only a frontier. … Let's pretend we know what 1963 looks like."

There are times when having a compelling vision for the future outweighs past troubles.

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

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