innercitytenementsSometimes there are differing perspectives about issues that are seemingly “cut and dry.” For example, I once had someone impart to me a very unique viewpoint relating to gang violence. We were discussing the fact that kids in gangs often get into these gun battles and there are stray bullets that go flying in residential communities. I lamented that it is unfortunate that some people do not respect life, and conduct their activities in such a manner where innocent people become victims. My colleague suggested that my viewpoint was wrong, and that it came down to an issue of social justice. His take on it was that these gang members are not bad kids, they are just bad shots. Perhaps if there were more firearms training and gun ranges in the inner city, that would decrease incidents of innocent people being caught up in gang warfare.

As I thought about it, my mind began to wander. What, exactly, would this look like? Would we create a new cabinet-level position in the Executive Branch of the US Government? Perhaps a Gang Czar? The federal government could purchase land and set up rifle and pistol ranges in the inner city. It could be administered through the US National Park Service. It would be awesome for us here in Greeley, as we would not have to drive clear to Briggsdale to reach a pistol range. This would be a way to decrease our unemployment rate, and all of the new staff would have access to affordable health care like other civil servants. Our tax base would be expanded, and there would be other ancillary benefits such as increased ammunition sales, etc.

The lesson here is that sometimes people have good intentions for an outcome, but their execution (no pun intended) is not all that it can be. In my career, I have seen situations where development professionals have good intentions but they fall short in execution. We have to be donor-centric in our dealings with supporters of nonprofit organizations.

Sometimes we fail to put ourselves in the donor’s shoes and instead we take the route that is most expedient. One big complaint that I have heard in the past from donors is in the area of mailings. It can be frustrating for a donor to be over-solicited, or over-mailed (receiving mail from different departments of the same organization on the same day). And the offended donor may get the same number of mailings as the donor next door. It is important that we understand that whereas some donors may not balk at being solicited every month and send $50 each time, another donor would rather be solicited once a year and give $600. It is our job, as development professionals, to make that happen. I have had donors who prefer to communicate by mail, others telephone, some email, and still others would rather a personal visit or text message. When we know our donors then we can more easily accommodate their needs.

When you have poor execution it almost doesn’t matter what your intentions were. In these days of competition for the charitable dollar, it is important that we do what it takes to get it right.

Have a great week,



For those of you who do not know me personally, allow me to state directly that I do not endorse the US Government training gang members to shoot better.

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