A Little Tongue- in- Cheek for 2020



January 12, 2020

Dear Mr. ABC CEO:

I hope this brief cover letter and link to a New York Times Sports Saturday article finds you well. I enjoyed meeting you at Shabbat services last week and hope you enjoyed our brief exchange about hiring fundraising staff. My small boutique fundraising firm can clearly help your organization make the best possible decision on a Development Manager that will allow the ABC organization to thrive for many years.

I thought of you this morning while reading the paper, enjoying my coffee, and wondering if you would contact me after our conversation when I read the article about Clemson’s football coach. WOW I thought to myself … I wonder if any of my colleagues in the advancement field had read this article. Yes, the article surely speaks of a university whose growth has been outstanding in both academics and athletics, but not being much of a sports fan I thought it was a fundraising article for those of us out there trying always to separate people from their wealth for good causes. The article does speak ad-nauseaism about football after all, and I know athletics can be big business and serious emotions for football fans, but is someone actually encouraging cultivation and building relationships in the sports section? Are you kidding me? I have 30 some odd years trying to convince leadership – paid & volunteer boards that if you do not cultivate, if you do not provide consistent constant customer service you will be on the losing side of raising money … and now university football is echoing my words (ok ok and the words of lots of other fundraisers). In print.

I hope by the time you read this article, and relocate my business card I will be ready to provide you with a list of decidedly difficult questions to ask your top 3 candidates. I hope you will understand if after I read the background of the top 3 applicants, I might add two more who have similar backgrounds to your own organization mission that you may have missed. Further, I hope you will allow me to talk to the same 5 candidates on the phone for a brief 20 to 30 minute call, just to make sure the candidates know you need to raise a cool one million dollars in the first 6 months of their employment from your own tried (ok maybe a little tired as well) and true prospects list.

The other small item is to suggest that you review existing staff and see who on your team has actually been doing fundraising-as in

Searching for new first-time donors;

asking for money;

closing gifts;

establishing individual cultivation plans by donor level;

tracking pledge payments with updates entitled ‘seeing the impact of your contribution;’

scheduling new solicitations for paid off pledge payments.

In order to work together successfully I hope we can have an intelligent discussion in regard to cease & desist all food delivery pick-ups by advancement staff for now and in the foreseeable future. Some of those same staff who are also picking up the sandwich trays and the bagel platters can also no longer discuss the menu for the gala nor the color of napkins, nor the centerpieces.

I hope I am not being too direct. No worries Mr. ABC organization CEO I will take it down a notch when I call you on Monday morning.


Sherri W. Morr

MORR Fundraising Inc.

Sherri has spent the last several decades working & consulting in and out of the Jewish community as an expert in nonprofit management. She completed an MA & an Honorary Doctorate at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She is on the Jewish Women’s Theatre Advisory Council, the board of Yesh Tikva, and a member of the Steering Committee of Chai Village LA.