We need the heart and commitment of donors, volunteers and, staff. We need them to embrace the mission we carry on. We must establish a long-term relationship. Fr. Joseph Daoust SJ, talking in 1997 about the capital campaign to raise $16 million for the infirmary of the Detroit Province said “…The 16 million dollars was the least important result of it”. For him the most important achievement in that campaign was “…the network of friends and relationships and ideas and financial resources, connections.” He explains the reason “Once they [donors] become convinced of the mission, donors are not reluctant to give.”
For him the real goal was to transform friends and benefactors into “insiders” who care as much about the Detroit Province as its Jesuit members. They are no longer outside collaborators, they are companions.
This is a paradoxical situation. If one goes to the potential donor fixing eyes on his wallet for begging money, one receives just coins! If one goes to donors inviting them to be companions, one could count on their ideas, skills, connections, knowledge and their financial resources. The way one asks for their support has consequences. One needs to show them a plan. One needs to be open to their inputs about it; one needs to show the impact of our project and how this project is a response to real needs in a particular community or country. At the same time they must be sure that they can count on our time, our care and our spiritual support. I agree totally when Fr. Daoust says “…they have a right to a long term relationship”
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