Ben Franklin is the father of American philanthroy
Every year for the last 15 years or more, I take the week of the Fourth of July off and head up to an old Boy Scout friend’s cottage in Michigan. Needless to say, blogging gets a little difficult when you’re looking out over Saginaw Bay trying to forget about the world. So, I’ve decided to re-post two older pieces this week pertaining to philanthropy’s roots in the founding of our country.
Today’s re-post is actually from the end of 2011 when I was trying to be cute and offer readers predictions for the coming year.
The Final 2012 Non-Profit Prediction
This entire week we’ve been looking back upon 2011 for major trends, and then looking forward to 2012 with an eye towards making a few predictions. Today’s post speaks to a fundraising prediction that has been true every year since the birth of our country more than 235 years ago:
If you ask people to donate, then you will raise lots of money.
A few days after Christmas, a friend sent me an email with the following Benjamin Franklin quote from Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography and Other Writings:
“It was about this time that another projector, the Rev Gilbert Tennent, came to me with a request that I would assist him in procuring a subscription for erecting a new meeting-house. It was to be for the use of a congregation he had gathered among the Presbyterians, who were originally disciples of Mr. Whitehead. Unwilling to make myself disagreeable to my fellow-citizens by too frequently soliciting their contributions, I absolutely refus’d. He then desired I would furnish him with a list of the names of persons I knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited. I thought it would be unbecoming in me, after their kind compliance to me solicitations, to mark them out to be worried by other beggars, and therefore refus’d also to give such a list. He then desir’d I would at least give him my advice. “That I would readily do,” said I; “and in the first place, I advise you to apply to all those whom you know will give something; next, to those whom you are uncertain whether they will give anything or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken.” He laugh’d and thanked me, and said he would take my advice. He did so, for he ask’d of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum than he expected, with which he erected the capacious and very elegant meeting-house that stands on Arch-street.”
Ben Franklin is considered by most people to be the “Father of American Philanthropy”. His advice is timeless and perfect for those non-profit executive directors and fundraising professionals who are stewing over what their 2012 new years resolution should be:
Don’t say “NO” for anyone.
Ask everyone if they want to support your mission
and invest in the outcomes and impact your agency produces.
Ask! Ask! Ask!
If you do this, then my 2012 prediction for you is that regardless of the economy and any other external influences your non-profit organization will thrive and you’ll exceed all of your fundraising goals.
Speaking of non-profit new years resolutions, do you have any? If so, please use the comment box below and share your thoughts because we can inspire each other.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC