Ugly Tomatoes and the Raising of Money


heirloom tomatoes

This year I grew these amazing Cherokee Purple Heirloom tomatoes. When I picked the first one I washed it off and started slicing it. The first thing I noticed when I picked it was how ugly it was. There were a few cracks near the top that had broken up while it was growing and had healed over. The next thing I noticed was how dense it was. Not much empty space at all. And then I took a bite. Wow. I’ve ended up having those tomatoes as a dessert a few times now. If you’ve never bitten into a really good heirloom tomato grown in your backyard I’m not quite sure you’d understand.

But what in the world does this have to do with nonprofits? Or with fundraising?

Well first of all, sometimes the best strategies are not the pretty glossy ones that that look nice and shiny and new. The most effective strategies really have to do with sitting down, eyeball-to-eyeball with people and getting to know them. And relationships can be messy. After all, we’re all humans and therefore we all make mistakes once in a while. But regardless, the raising of funds is still most effectively done face-to-face.

Next, raising philanthropic dollars is not full of empty words or empty promises. It is a dense experience (dense in a good way). It’s not a slick sales job where the giver walks away feeling like they have just been taken advantage of in some way. It’s a rewarding experience for the donor, for the organization, and yes, even for the asker. Think of the last time you gave a gift to an organization that you really believe in. Chances are, the organization let you know about the great results that they were expecting – and then let you know later how they came to pass.

When done well, it leaves a good taste, perhaps even a feeling of joy. Research through the years has confirmed that people who give are healthier – and generally happier – than those who do not. It’s a win-win experience for everyone involved: the mission of the organization is advanced, people are being served, donors have experienced the joy of giving and those asking have realized that it’s a blessing – both to give and to receive.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? And better yet, what tomato / vegetable growing tips do you have for me?


Ugly Tomatoes and the Raising of Money — 5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Kirsten’s Fundraising Headlines – October 11, 2011 | Growing Your Donors

  2. Excellent analogy!! You are 100% right, a lot a time, I’ve found the glitz and gloss from organizations to be full of fluff. Keep up the good work!

    All the best!

  3. In this high tech world we now live in, it’s important to step back to some basics for building and maintaining relationships. And financial supporters have taken the first and very personal step to give of their hard earned dollars. It really is up to us, the staff or the board, to take the next step or two to maintain that relationship. Thanks for the post,Kirsten!