I’ve been helping facilitate many annual campaign kickoff meetings in the last few months. As I make my rounds throughout Indiana, I’ve had the honor of meeting many volunteers who come to these kickoff meetings in hopes of making this thing they call “fundraising” a little less painful by sitting through some of my trainings.

One of the mini-trainings I’ve been facilitating this year involves getting better acquainted with their organization’s “case for support” and blending their personal stories with the case statement. So, I’ve been witness to lots of donor stories in the last few months.

Last week I attendedĀ  a kickoff meeting in Central Indiana where I witnessed the “power of alumni” at work. As I helped these campaign volunteers through a storytelling exercise, one of them pulled out their iPhone and started showing people around him pictures of when he was a kid at the Boys & Girls Club. He specifically focused on pictures from the Club’s basketball team and the year they “won it all!”

It was in that moment I realized how important it is for some people to feel like they are “giving back” to a charity that helped them gain so much. I suspect this is why so many university alumni foundations are so successful.

The look on that volunteer’s face was worth a thousand words. I suspect if he weaves his personal stories into his solicitation meetings while “making the case for support” for the annual campaign that prospective donors won’t be able to help making a contribution.

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