Can raising money be like building furniture?

MarketSmart characters
MarketSmart lightbulb icon

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Did you know you can make furniture without screws, nails or fasteners?
Great artisans make furniture using glue, miters, and specialized wood joints. It takes longer to do it this way and I don’t think the quality is actually any better.
So if they get the same results, why are they still doing it without screws, nails or fasteners?
Driving nails vs. finding a fit
Using nails and such to drive the pieces together, furniture can be made expeditiously and at low cost. A little bang here and a whack over there. That’s how furniture companies get the job done these days.
But another way to do it is much more careful and time-consuming. It involves carefully carving pieces with precision to ensure a perfect fit. Then they get joined together. It’s truly amazing.
like fundraisers joining together donorsCould it be about love and passion?
I think people still make furniture by searching for a great fit (instead of banging nails into wood) because of love and passion. Yes, love and passion! They care a lot (and they know that others care deeply too) about putting the pieces together so they fit just right.
And, since both parties care so much, they sort of dance well with one another. The person making the furniture and the person buying the furniture fit together like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, or a hand in a glove.
It isn’t only found with furniture.
This mutual appreciation of love and passion I’m describing isn’t only found in the furniture trade. People seem to prefer handing over their hard-earned dollars for craft beer too. That’s probably why the number of craft breweries in the U.S. has doubled over the past few years. There’s lots of love and passion in every one of those bottles.
What does any of this have to do with fundraising?
While a furniture maker can certainly bang a few nails into some wood to put together a darn good piece of furniture, ultimately, people value and appreciate their furniture much more when the pieces are joined together carefully with love and passion.
The same goes for fundraising. Fundraisers care deeply about the missions they serve. They care immensely about the donors they serve too. I even know plenty of fundraisers that have developed loving relationships with donors over the years. Because these loving relationships are filled with passion for the cause, they dance together wonderfully.
For the donor, the fundraiser works hard to craft the perfect fit— with precision.
In turn, the donor appreciates the program or giving opportunity that was developed especially to suit her needs. So she hands over her hard-earned money.
What you do is beautiful!
I am in awe of your greatness— just like I am in awe of people that put together well-crafted furniture. Your passion, precision, attention to detail and love is noticed. What you do is beautiful. Thank you.


>> 8 Core Components of Engagement Fundraising and Why You Desperately Need Them
>> eBook: How to Generate More Planned Gifts with Less Money and Reduced Resources

4 responses to “Can raising money be like building furniture?”

  1. Mark W Jones says:

    The quality IS better.

  2. Camille - Easy Fundraisers says:

    I love this analogy. Love is in the details. When donors see your custom-fit approach to your organization and to them, the passion is obvious, and they are more likely to stay engaged. That retention is key to any successful foundation of support. Thanks for posting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get smarter!
Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!