Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Viken Mikaelian CEO

Viken Mikaelian CEO

Majorgifts.com LLC

Let’s Not Jump to Conclusions

In your work as a fundraiser, do not be fooled by appearances. You just might end up looking like a fool — and missing out. 

I heard this from an announcer on the radio …

There was an older man who never married and had no kids. He owned two pairs of jeans and drove a pickup truck worthy of an old country ballad. He gave the distinct impression of a man just this side of poverty. Think Gary Cooper in “Meet John Doe.” (Great old movie, btw).

The guy went to a lawyer and said something like, “I never went to college, but I’d like to help someone else go. How much would it would cost?”

Who Got the Last Laugh?

Can you just picture the attorney’s face? Maybe he looked down his nose through his reading glasses or cleared his throat so he didn’t bust out laughing. He might have squirmed in his expensive leather chair. Then again, he might have learned something about judging people.

He told the man, “It takes a lot of money to send someone to college, often tens of thousands.”

The bachelor said, “I’ve lived simple and had no family to support, so I saved some money over the years and want to help others go to college.”

“Just how much have you saved?” the lawyer asked. He was probably thinking something like a few hundred bucks.

“Well, sir, I have three million dollars.”

You could’ve knocked that attorney over with a saltine cracker. Three million? That simple-living bachelor ended up sending 33 young people to college, and when they got out, they didn’t owe a cent. Years later, nearly all of them in high-paying professions, they met their benefactor, wanting to thank him. He probably showed up in the same pickup and wore his old jeans.

Books, Covers, and Judgment

We can tell a lot about people by the way they present themselves, but not everything. We shouldn’t, therefore, jump to conclusions. Some folks outfit themselves at Walmart (like my dad used to) because they’d rather give their money to provide clean water in Africa. Others carry Louis Vuitton or wear custom-tailored shirts and are in hock up to their eyeballs.

I hope that someday, when you have the pleasure of helping someone like that simple bachelor leave a legacy that helps others, you will not be shocked because you will have learned not to prejudge.

One more “unconfirmed” story — years ago in Princeton, someone gave a bit of cash to a down-and-out fellow hanging around Nassau Street. It turns out the “bum” was Albert Einstein.

 See what I mean? Leave your assumptions at the door.

By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.