Power in Numbers

Nancy Cardozo

By Nancy Cardozo

“There is power in numbers and there is power in unity.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Most of us (fundraisers) believe firmly that meeting with donors is one of the best parts of our jobs: understanding the philanthropic motivations of people, how they want to contribute to build a more sustainable community, an inclusive society, a better world. These conversations are the sink and source of emotional connection and inspiration for amazing deeds.

After inspirational conversations, ideas must be documented into a discussion paper, or may be a proposal, depending on where we are in the exchange. Many of us sit for hours at our desks, thinking of the most eloquent words to build our fundraising elevator pitch. This solitary exercise seems quite haunting sometimes, when apparently the fountain of inspiration is dry.

I found the best way to build a strong pitch is not in the solitude of my office. The best pitches come from collective efforts, picking the brains of the people who make things happen. I find the task of bringing together disparate and sometimes apparently opposite approaches very useful. This approach may be a little more time intensive, but it helps our colleagues understand the purpose of our work as fundraisers, and it helps us prepare a proposal that is more realistic and deliverable. This exercise allows us to identify beforehand some potential stewardship issues, and brings us fundraisers closer to the people working in the trenches of our organizations.

Looking from the perspective of building strong relationships with our internal clients, having our colleagues more involved in the fundraising side of the house creates a sense of connectedness and ownership. At the same time, we increase our “antenna” system to identify and connect with more potential prospects.

After you get to confirm the results of these collective efforts, taking the time to show appreciation and thank our collaborators is extremely important. They are helping us become more effective and competent. They are the people that are not counted as fundraising staff, but they increase our capacity to enable the flow of philanthropic dollars to our organizations.

There is strength in numbers, and indeed there is power in unity.

Nancy Cardozo has over 21 years of professional experience working in the non-for profit and higher education sectors. Nancy moved to SFU on November 2011, after working at UBC for five and a half years. Previously she worked in executive positions in the non-for profit sector in her native country Paraguay for 13 years. Her education includes a degree in Electromechanical Engineering and a MBA. Nancy loves to enjoy time with her husband and their two kids. Reading, watching movies, gardening, baking and hiking are some of her favourite activities.

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