I’m reading Emmanuel Rosen’s “The Anatomy of Buzz.” Very slowly. I’ve got it on my PDA and read it only when I don’t have any other book handy. But it’s well worth reading. Really.

Last week, during a 70 minute failed attempt to give blood (they kept missing the vein!), I read Rosen’s thoughts on behind-the-scenes. He comments on how we all love to “feel” like we’re getting a “behind-the-scenes” look at something. Even if we know it’s not REALLY behind-the-scenes.

To this day, I fondly remember Walt Disney World’s “Keys to the Kingdom” tour I took back in ’98. For 5 or so hours, we walked “back stage” and saw all the secrets of the kingdom. We knew that we weren’t REALLY seeing all the secrets but it sure felt like they showed us alot. And for a person like me, that helped increase my enjoyment of the park on each subsequent visit.

In terms of the “Get R.E.A.L.” approach to asking for money, behind-the-scenes activities fit in both the “Engage” step and the unwieldy named “Live/Love/Like” step.

As you think about your Engage activities for the coming year, what can you do to include your donor prospects in a behind-the-scenes activity?

  • Can you host a gathering at your construction site and have the general contractor speak?
  • What about a relaxed Q & A with your CEO?
  • What if you gave a tour of something you’ve always stayed away from touring–client homes, residence facilities, anything. I’m not advocating doing anything unethical. But all to often we go about business as usual because it’s easier.

At one institution, I created a monthly 1-page/2-sides newsletter for class reps called “Rep Rap.” I created it with a desktop publishing program template and photocopied them and sent them as self mailers. The informal nature of the newsletter made it feel like something hot-off-the-press.

Do you want to know my favorite part of the behind-the-scenes things? They often can be done with little or no expense. Given the very fact that it is behind-the-scenes, donor prospects expect it to not have the glitz and polish a regular activity would have.

To your fundraising success!


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