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A combination of grants and individual gifts come together to fund a non profit mission, so Boon stewards encourage grantees to establish and maintain genuine, longstanding institutional friendships. Since fundraising involves the collection of gifts represented by dollars, it is easily measured that way. But at the core and foundation of the process lies successful relationship building. A good external relations program creates and maintains institutional friendships on a daily basis.

Unlike other administrative jobs at a charity, the professional fundraiser directs attention to outward activities. They are boundary agents that understand and represent what goes on inside, where it is leading, and what the impact might be to the broader community.

Evaluating funding performance should therefore look beyond dollars raised, and encompass all the factors in the external relations environment that are unique to each and every nonprofit. How many volunteer and donor relationships do we have, and how can we keep them, and find more? How do we involve them in the activities that support the nonprofit mission, and additionally encourage people to perhaps give even more than their previous gift?

Henry Rosso, founder of the Fundraising School at what is now the Lilly Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, was a highly respected and admired fundraiser who mentored many others. He also wrote Rosso on Fund Raising, and essential read for any fundraiser. In it he tells a tale about Bay Area fundraising consultant Skip Henderson, who asked his son, Sam, about how he makes and keeps his friends. This is the list that Sam, at the time age 9, wrote for his dad.

"This is how to make and keep friends:

  • Invite people to play with you.
  • Talk to friends.
  • Join the Scouts.
  • Don't call names.
  • Go over to the kids you see, tell them you are new here, and ask to play.
  • Don't be mean to them.
  • Make them laugh.
  • Play with them a lot.
  • Take them places.
  • Help them.
  • Share.
  • Give presents.
  • Stay in touch.
  • Say something nice about their stuff and what they do.
  • Listen to what people say.
  • Focus on stuff that other people do.
  • Say thanks.
  • Don't take stuff away - ask to use it.
  • Cheer for each other.
  • Find out what they want."

Henry Sinclair Sherrill
President & Organizer 
Boon Philanthropy