We are all looking for the secret sauce in reaching out to our communities whether it is the perfect language in your next solicitation letter or the call to action at your next gala. It is easy to feel like if you can just share your message the right way the people will follow. Sort of a development version of “if you build it they will come.”
If you meet with people regularly, you start to see themes appear in your conversations and you try to customize how you describe organization to be the very most compelling. Unless you have a great referrals program and your board members and friend do a really good job of introducing you to the community it is hard to just meet new major donors. Most often the people who are willing to meet with you are not the people you want to meet or are not the people that will make the biggest difference for your organization. I have sometimes thought if I could just do a better more compelling job of sharing my message I would be more successful. Maybe that is true, or true in part, but I don’t think it is the solution.
I have been amazed at the value of engaging and being connected in your community. Attending local chamber events and joining a local rotary have been one of the very best ways for me to meet new people. When you are able to meet people face-to-face in a common environment it is way easier to start a new relationship. For this reason it can be immensely valuable to serve on a board and join a committee. When people see you getting involved in your community they view you in a different way.