Why Agitators are Good for Us

Seth Godin reads our Passionate Giving Blog.  He must. I mean, just a couple of days after Richard posted his scathing and brilliant remarks about fundraising events , Seth wrote about what a waste galas are.

Okay, perhaps he doesn’t read our blog, (it would be cool though if he did), but I find it interesting that, in the span of two, days both Seth and Richard are blasting away about fundraising events.

Good for them.

For years Seth Godin has been an inspiration for the fundraising community.  Go to a big fundraising conference and he might be the main speaker.  His books are everywhere…and they’re actually readable.  In fact, you can read a whole book on the plane, flying to your conference.  Everyone loves Seth Godin.

Except for now.

As I said, he’s created quite a stir amongst you, my fundraising colleagues.  Apparently, you don’t take too kindly to folks who criticize what you do for a living.  If you click on the link I provided you can read the whole post, but he essentially thinks galas and events are a waste of time, they don’t promote philanthropy and they end up being  just a happy time for a special club of people.

He couldn’t be more right.

However, if you have been reading other blogs, Twitter messages or other social networking sites, fundraising folks are just blasting him.  “How dare he criticize events, he doesn’t know anything about fundraising.”  “I think he needs to be more balanced and talk about the good side of galas.  That’s what a good reporter would do.”

If he were a reporter, perhaps…but he’s not.

I understand.  No one likes to get scolded.  But, what is interesting in all of the blogs and comments I’ve read is that once folks finish blasting Godin for his opinions, they actually have some pretty decent ideas about what good and effective galas and events should look like.

Ironically, they strangely reflect all of Richard’s points about how a gala or an event should be run.  Ok, ok…I’m not saying they stole them from Richard, but you never know.

My point today is that we need more critics.  We need agitators like Seth Godin, like Richard Perry and my former co-worker, Jeff Brooks who challenge conventional thinking in the fundraising arena.

Agitators make us better…whether they are critiquing a sector, a certain program or the way you personally do your job.  We need people to speak truth to us.

So, before you get upset or blast back yourself, step back, take it in and find the truth with which the agitator speaks.  It’s in there.

God Bless the Seth Godins…we need more of them.  You’ll only be better because of them.



About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
This entry was posted in Development Directors, Donor-Centered, Major Gift Officers, Major Gifts, Marketing Plans, Non-Profits, Philanthopy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Why Agitators are Good for Us

  1. Mary Maupai says:

    Special events distract me from what I really should be doing. Talking face to face with my donors. Special events are a convenient excuse for many to not do what they KNOW they should be doing! Enough said! Now if we could get our volunteers to understand this……that is probably another blog.

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