One of my favorite lessons about faith is the story of a man caught in a flood praying to be saved as the water rises. Two boats, and a helicopter, come and are sent off as he trusts that his prayers will be answered. When he eventually drowns and goes to heaven he asks – why did you not answer my prayers? The simple answer, “I sent two boats, and a helicopter.”
I am reminded of this story when I hear about what fundraisers, and others involved in philanthropy, say is needed to be successful. There never seems to be enough information, technology, personnel, and good donors. Imagine telling this tale at the pearly gates. I’m not sure a sympathetic audience awaits.
Do you really want to make the case for information being in short supply? Is the technology available not amazing enough for you? Good people seem hard to find, but how many good people have left your organization in frustration? And with the exponential growth in wealth is it about the money or what you are (or not) doing to genuinely engage prospective donors?
Perhaps the problem is not supply, but rather abundance. Has the value of information diminished as the ease of acquiring it increased? With so many technologies from which to choose, is it more comfortable to stick with what you know even when it’s clearly outdated? With so many people looking for work, is it easier to post a job than to focus on creating a culture that retains talent? There are more people than ever who can support your organizations, and those people come from every generation, gender, ethnic group, and location, but does this create paralysis rather than action?
We may yearn for the good old days when there were fewer answers, and best practices guided our every move. Those days are long gone. Time to get off our knees, be thankful for all we have been given, and start getting in the boats and helicopters.