When mistakes with donors become opportunities…

Have you ever sent an email and regretted it immediately afterwards?

It happens to us all. And it happened to a close colleague just a few days ago.

I’m co-chair of his board and I asked him to send me the email of a middle donor who I had just met an an event who has major donor capacity. He accidentally cc’d the donor on a communication that said:

“He just re-uped his support at $X,000 and always talks about how he wishes he could do more.  If you feel the timing is right you can drop the hint that we need help finding more like him.  Maybe he’s got some ideas…  I’ve been meaning to go there with him soon, but haven’t felt it was the right time.  I leave it to you.”

He and I both seized on the opportunity. My colleague quickly replied…

“Ah ha.  Well, a look behind the curtain, [donor name].  Email faux-pas of the week.  Well, nothing surprising, I hope.  We’re looking for more people like you!  Know any…?

 

And I quipped…

“I promise our coffee will be a friendly hello and not a rough shake down. And [colleague name], you are doing what any good artistic director would be doing – ensuring the future health of the [org]”

The donor replied…

“Fear not, friends. It’s an honor to be given a look behind the curtain of a well-oiled fundraising machine.”

Mistakes can become opportunities. I’ll keep you posted on how my coffee goes…