PUBLISHED IN F&P MAGAZINE - 18 OCTOBER 2019
Why are we here? This is the question that has kept philosophers and fundraisers busy for centuries… And one of the first questions I ask all of my clients. Too often the response I get is not what I was hoping for.
We do research into (insert disease) to better understand why people suffer.
We aim to grow employment opportunities for vulnerable people across Australia by (insert program)
We run (insert program) so that everyone will have access to the arts.
I hear of some amazing programs in my work. Programs and services that reach the most vulnerable in our society with the most inspiring people at the helm. But running programs and offering services with dedication and true leadership is is not why we are here. This is what you do and who does it, not why you exist.
We are here to change the world. Not to just do things, no matter how noble.
“Instead of telling me that you do world-class research into a cancer, ask me to imagine a world where no one dies from cancer.”
What I want to hear when I ask “Why are we here?” is your vision. How will the world be a better place when you achieve what you have set out to do. I want to be able to imagine that world being my world, so make it personal too.
Your actions are not your vision. Instead of telling me that you do world-class research into a cancer, ask me to imagine a world where no one dies from cancer. Ask me to imagine that no one needs to suffer. My dad died from cancer last year, as did so many thousands more in Australia. I can relate to that and I want to see that world. I want to help you achieve that vision.
Whatever your area of expertise, once you have articulated that vision, I will want to know more and need to know how I can get involved to help you realise that vision. Once I am engaged you can continue the conversation into how you will achieve that goal through the programs and services you offer, giving me the proof that you can do what you say you can. This is also the point to showcase your leadership that will ensure that your goal is achieved.
More than anything I want to be inspired and so do your donors and prospective supporters.
So when you are next asked why you exist, don’t list off the amazing programs you run or the fantastic services you offer. Tell them what the world will look like when you achieve your goal. Tell them your vision.