The Long Road of Development
I have an ongoing email exchange with a few development officers around the city. Most of them are young and are trying to develop their Rolodex and bring in funds for the organization that they work with. I appreciate the job that they have, as I have raised money before too. It is not easy and development takes time. In this line of work, patience is a major virtue.
We are philanthropic and have been thoughtful about where we hope to make an impact. We care about education and NYC. Doesn’t mean we have not given to things outside those two areas but those have been the two big ones.
I have told Development Officers not to waste their time with us and as disappointed as they might be, I do believe I had done them a solid by being honest. I know what it is like to sit in those Development meetings believing that someone is the perfect candidate to start courting. There is nothing worse than courting someone for years, finally making an ask, and the amount they want to give is 90% less than what you thought they would do.
I still believe the importance for non-profit organizations is to figure out how to become sustainable (although some never will be able to) because there will be more private/public partnerships to rebuild the infrastructure of our cities and more. I’d like to see more Development Officers be creative about longevity and the road to sustainability vs. just raising annual capital to stay in business.