The Olympic torch. The lyrics remembered from a Whitney Houston song sung at the 1988 Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Chills ran down my spine. The hairs stood straight on my neck. Cheesy, I know. But it got to me.
We all yearn for that one moment where we step outside our daily, mundane lives and exceed our wildest expectations. When we’re bigger than ourselves.
We can’t all be gold medal athletes, but we can all be gold medal philanthropists. And gold medal philanthropy facilitators.
The Olympics lifts us up. At its best, philanthropy does this as well. It inspires us. It engages us fully. It’s addictive when done right.
We should strive to give our donors the high of Olympians. We should addict them to the high one gets from having made other lives glad.
Give me one moment in time
When I’m racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel
I will feel eternity
Let’s go back to the music. What music are you playing for your donors after they accomplish their mission of investing themselves fully and passionately in your cause? Do you have a donor theme song? Maybe you need one!
Maybe you need something to transport your donors and take them to the next level. Are you connecting your donors to the broader picture? Are you helping them to see the ways they’ve made a difference? Are you making them feel like they’ve just won a biathalon… done a quadruple loop better than anyone else… speed-skated so fast they’ve exceeded records… ice danced to a perfect “10”… and done all this in the spirit that, even though they are just one person, they have connected themselves to a family, a community and even the entire world in the finest way by engaging fully in the “love of humankind.”
We all want to give the best of ourselves. Sometimes we don’t know how. We feel small and alone. We don’t think we can make a difference. We want to do it though. We want to be remembered. We want a destiny. We want a legacy. We want to feel eternity.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to give this ‘high’ to your donors. It’s your gift to them. And it’s your responsibility as development professionals and board leaders.
If you want gifts, you should give them.
Please take this opportunity to channel the spirit of the Olympics and give your donors their moment in time. Without them, your mission would fail. Your vision would perish. They’ve earned a gold medal.
Each day I live I want to be
A day to give the best of me
I’m only one but not alone
My finest day is yet unknown
Excerpted from an article originally published on Clairification July 26, 2012