by: George Ruotolo
Every Sunday at 10 AM I virtually attend Mass at St Cecilia’s Church in Boston.
This is not my home parish, but I’ve have come to know Fr. John Unni both prior to and through this crisis. I have returned to his mass week after week and continue to be inspired.
Yesterday I was struck by the Gospel; John 10: 1-10
Fr. John, who I have grown to admire, spoke to the importance, now more than ever, of leadership and how the sheep come to learn and respond to the sound of their shepherd’s voice.
Inspired by this message, I considered its connection to much of what we’ve been talking about regarding the impact you have on your institutions. Your voice resonates with your flock – those who are currently part of your church, school, or nonprofit – but also those who may be drawn to your mission. How are you calling them at this time?
We have been speaking about the need and opportunity to connect with constituents – to take their temperature – to understand how they are and share how your institution is doing. These cultivating conversations build relationship and strengthen commitment to mission.
You may have discovered the best ways to share your voice – which communication channels reach your flock, as well as discerning when and how to push messages out and when to engage in more direct dialogue.
Those opportunities for discourse may open more potential doors. As you assess the evolving needs of your institution, I encourage you to share them and share the value of their potential support.
Asking for permission to discuss a major gift request, need not only be for those you have yet to solicit. Consider someone who had said no before the Pandemic as it’s important NOT to prejudge your best prospects. Your case has evolved as so might their response.
I’ve been reflecting on all of these factors and recognized an emerging opportunity to revisit recent major gift “rejections” to simply and thoughtfully restate your case today, including how it has evolved from yesterday.
You just may be surprised and inspired by the empathy, goodness, and generosity of people within your institution’s family. Whether they are in a position to support your institution or not, you will have strengthened your relationship through this engagement. Your outreach and consideration will be remembered.
Inspiration is all around us – and within us.