My last LinkedIn post focused on fundraising leaders identifying their Ikigai (Raison D’etre or “reason for being”):
The article noted that fundraising leaders rightly focus on metrics, tactics, and progress. But I also wondered whether leaders can lose sight of their Ikigai as they seek to meet the metrics.
In case you missed the article Ikigai is “your reason for being” (what the French call a Raison d’etre). That “reason for being” results from the intersection of four elements:
- What you love (your passion)
- What the world needs (your mission)
- What you are good at (your vocation)
- What you can get paid for (your profession)
Do you know what the Ikigai or “reason for being” is that guides your prospective donors and your most loyal donors? Put another way in Advancement Resources training in which I participated some years ago – Do you know what your donor is passionate about?
One of the many skills that I have developed is assisting individuals with writing legacy letters or statements (what some call an ethical will). For the donor who has yet to identify their Ikigai, or who has not yet recorded thoughts about their “reason for being,” developing a letter or legacy statement can help clarify what matters most.
How does this process inform philanthropy? When we and donors know what they are most passionate about, when they know what their Ikigai is, it can lead to even deeper and more fruitful conversations about giving, particularly with regard to legacy gifts.
I end with a suggestion, when your energy for email or calls is waning stop and . . .
- Write down the names of your top five to 10 donors.
- Record for each person what you believe to be their Ikigai.
- If you don’t know the answer put a plan in place to find out.
- If you know the answer, ask yourself whether the gift conversations that you are having with each donor tie as closely as possible to that donor’s Ikagai.