The Clint Eastwood School of Fundraising

In the Clint Eastwood Oscar winning film Unforgiven there is an extraordinary scene. Clint is facing a dozen or so gun slingers. The film wanted to show the reality of gun fights in those days rather than the one portrayed by Hollywood and all those spaghetti westerns that Clint starred in. It wasn’t the fastest draw in the West that won. It was the slowest – the one who kept their cool (guns were not that accurate as they had such a recoil so taking your time to take aim was key to hitting your target).

I wish in those times when faced with a crisis rather than take some quick shots I kept my cool and carried on.

Here are some lessons that could come out of the Clint Eastwood School of Fundraising which may seem slower but will give you the better result:

  • Take your time to attract gifts from major donors. Make small but important steps to develop trust and engage them.
  • If you are developing a new fundraising programme take each key stage in turn: strategy, then structure, then messaging. Try to complete one before starting the next.
  • Get input on structure above and below you even if that takes longer. Not only will you get a better output you will have a structure owned by your team. They will be better placed to make the impact of a new structure quicker.
  • A great case for support takes time to get spot on. Write it. Bury it. Dig it up. Share it. Make it better. Bury it. Dig it up. Share it again. Give it time. Then set it loose.
  • New stuff takes twice as long as you think it will. The shortest time to deliver a project is often the one that looks the longest. Don’t be tempted to take short cuts. Find a project manager if you need one.
  • Engage supporters so they become champions of your cause vs short term activities to extract the most money out of them. You will raise more.

Take it away Clint. Show us how it’s done.

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