I gave a research presentation to a well-respected albeit obscure conservation-oriented trade association last week.

The Board chair of the development committee kept haranguing me. He kept asking why they couldn’t reach their goal of $3.5 million in annual unrestricted giving. He was getting increasingly annoyed that I didn’t have a simple answer.

Finally, this happened:

Me: “Well how did you calculate that goal to begin with?”

Board member: “That’s how much we needed.”

Urgent Memo to EDs and Boards:

Wishes are not goals. Fundraisers are not magicians. Or bounty hunters. If your “goals” are based on magical thinking, do not be disappointed when reality falls short.