More About the Author
Jim Lord has devoted his life to expanding what's possible for people who want to change the world. His early years working on capital campaigns led to The Raising of Money, the all-time bestselling book on fund raising, thanks to amazing sales in its first decade of release.
Curiosity about why people give of themselves led to a four-decade quest for answers from just about every discipline of human knowledge. Today, his by-invitation workshops are sought after by leaders of organizations of social good, the philanthropic community, and civic and business leaders throughout the world. Jim's forthcoming book, written with Pam McAllister, is What Kind of World Do You Want?
40 YEARS? REALLY?
It's hard for me to believe it was nearly 40 years ago that I joined Ketchum, Inc. as its youngest campaign consultant ... fresh out of college after a stint in the Navy.
First day on the job, bright-eyed and wet behind the ears, I sat up at our training session, raised my hand, and asked innocently, "Why do people volunteer? Why do they give money?"
"Look in the training manual," I'm told.
Hmm. I look. And find just tactics, mechanics. No answers to my bigger questions.
I quickly realized I'd joined a profession without any professional literature. There just wasn't much of anything to read in those days.
Well, I did uncover a few sources. Si Seymour's book and private papers. Years of memoranda handed out by senior campaign directors at Ketchum.
Then one day someone suggested I dig into the firm's mammoth library and look at the cases for support from the 1940s. What a great idea. That goldmine stimulated my creativity for years.
As I rummaged through the files, I knew I was getting closer to an answer to my naive question. The cases that caught my eye were the ones that touched something important -- about history or place or the cause.
IF NOT ME, THEN WHO?
Young and full of beans, I decided I'd take my mounting research and my quickly growing experience (I worked for the firm on campaigns, living in 28 cities in just my first four years!) and start writing the ideas and practices of my new profession.
Even early on, I sought to put the raising of money into a much larger context of facilitating personal initiative. That's allowed me to see the noble and profound nature of this endeavor. (You'll be taking advantage of this experience and mindset as you turn the pages of The Raising of Money.)
My first book, Philanthropy and Marketing, was the first to apply marketing to the raising of money. (By the way, it's long out of print, so please don't ask me for it.)
Then came The Raising of Money.
I wrote it as an "executive summary" for board members, so development professionals could find support for the proven practices and principles of raising large money. The big ideas they wanted their trustees to "get."
What a surprise hit it turned out to be.
The "little blue book" sold so many copies in its first 15 years that it's still known as the world's all-time bestselling book on raising money.
Back when it came out, the profession was a fraction of its current size. So the book's influence on the senior most practitioners (and those who were taught by them) was significant, I'm told.
(By the way, I'm often amused -- or is it bemused? -- to see passages from The Raising of Money "ripped off" without attribution. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I've been greatly complimented by many folks over the years.)
So The Raising of Money was a big deal "back in the day." And what I'm told about how it's influenced the direction of the profession ... well, it appears to be born out.
Yet most who've come to the world of philanthropy in the last decade or so don't even know it exists.
Here's why ...
I WENT INTO HIDING
I disappeared for a decade-plus.
You see, the success of The Raising of Money, and my other writings, was good for me. Speaking, teaching, consulting ... I had the privilege of advancing the causes of organizations and communities, large and small, all over the world.
And then one day I found myself being introduced at the International Congress on Philanthropy in Miami as "the world's greatest expert on raising money."
That's pretty cool. But if that were true -- and with the confidence even hearing such a thing inspires -- would I want to tackle something even larger?
So instead of continuing to crank out capital campaigns (and, to be frank, rake in the dollars), I set out on a mission.
You see, I'm still fascinated by questions about what makes people tick. Why they invest in a cause. Why they volunteer their time. Why?
I'm a curious person (pun intended). Always learning, questioning assumptions, looking for fresh ideas. (Always asking: How do we know this?)
And my curiosity pulled me forward on the adventure of a lifetime.
MY PERSONAL QUEST
Eager to find better ways to do this larger work, I dug into an extensive learning program, studying with global thought leaders the most advanced ideas in social psychology and organization development, even community development and global social change. I searched for insights from fields of knowledge as diverse as the behavioral sciences and spirituality.
Always looking for what I could learn about what gets people riled up and moving, motivated to work for what they believed in.
(Even back when I was working for a firm as a young consultant, I was investing heavily in my own learning. I knew it would take me wherever I'd go.)
Using the best of what I uncovered, I created what are seen as innovative ways to advance whole systems: organizations, causes, and communities. I worked directly with civic leaders and with the philanthropically-inclined -- to support them in what they wanted to do, creating the kind of world they wanted to see.
And I tested those ground-breaking approaches in workshops and pilot projects all over the world, with the people involved achieving amazing results.
I found that "fundraising" was vastly more effective when seen in that framework.
You might think I was searching for ways to achieve optimal fundraising performance. But in a way it was the opposite: I was inside the experience of the civic leader, walking with them ... even laying the roadbed for them and with them ... so they could exercise their ideals and create a new tomorrow.
You see, I was searching for the "secret" to success in how ideas and ideals could come to life. Well, that sounds like hype, at least to me. But that's what I was looking for -- "the secret power" that could unlock a whole new level of possibility.
Perhaps that actually is the key to extraordinary results in the raising of money--understanding, at a deep and personal level, what those folks are about, what they're thinking, what they care about, what they want. Oh yes, and the strengths they have to get there, whether they're aware of them or not.
And during that decade-plus of exploration, I stayed away from conferences and invitations to speak, and met only with those who came to my private, by-invitation workshops.
(Hundreds of people participated in those workshops, from more than 50 countries. What an experience. But that's a story for another day.)
If my reclusiveness seems odd, let me explain ...
The thing is, we're all influenced by who we hang out with. I wanted my thinking to be clear and undiluted by what others were talking about in the fundraising world.
I wanted vivid thoughts to lead to a fresh voice, still grounded in what I knew from my years of experience.
And in contrast to "putting out" at keynotes, the workshop format allows me to "take in," learning more every time.
From all of this, I was getting ready to offer a new book -- one that asks donors to activate their power as never before. But first, I want to return to the place that gave me my start. It seemed the right thing to do. Besides, raising money in these times is of such vital import.
AT LAST THE BOOK MOVES OFF THE BACK BURNER
It's a good thing I gave The Raising of Money a rest, for I've come back to it with this much wider view, new insights, and, well, wisdom. (It's cool to be getting older.)
And much to my surprise, I'm finding that most of The Raising of Money has stood the test of time.
Little did I know that the book's focus on principles of human behavior -- how people tend to behave when they invest themselves -- would make it so durable.
At the same time, I want to bring to the field my more recent experiences with civic leaders and donors ... and offer you some new thinking to expand on the book's (apparently) timeless precepts.
In particular, I want to encourage you -- especially in the current economic times -- to stay true to the enduring principles, to the best of what people can be. And to deflect any gimmicks or desperation moves.
This field has given me such an education. It's taught me so much about human behavior, about how people become inspired to do things they thought were beyond reach. I wonder how else, where else I could have learned what I have.
I'm deeply grateful ... and glad to be with you on this journey. What a ride!