I ran into a guy yesterday who I haven't seen in nearly ten years. In fact, he was a key donor to LIFE to help us get started. One day, ten years ago, I made a LIFE business plan to help him understand my vision for LIFE and to ask for a donation. I remember being nervous and I knew I only had 15 minutes to make my case and ask for the donation.
He listened. He agreed with my vision. Then I stumbled over asking for a donation. But I did ask and he readily wrote me a cheque.
As I was leaving, I felt compelled for a critique because he was a straight-shooter. So I said, "so...how did I do?". He smiled and said, "Good. But don't forget to ask for the money. It's important". Ya. Pretty important to close the deal, right?
So, I met up with him by accident last night. I said, "hey Mr. Somebody. Guess what! It was 10 years ago that we started LIFE 100.3!"
"Well good for you. Would you like to help me with my business"? (Whaaaat? I laughed. He's super-weathy.) "Well," he said, "I helped you. Why don't you help me?" Ooooh this was getting awkward.
I started to ask about his business and he interrupted me and said, "people always ask me for money for their projects, but nobody returns the favour".
I was dumbfounded. I thought donors gived unselfishly, without condition, without expectation, giving for the pleasure of giving. Is the giver expected to give back to the same donor?
"That's the same look I get from everyone," he laughed, making me feel like a dork.
He started repeating the conversation and me giving him money coz, apparently, it's my turn.
I replied, "Well sir, I want you to know that you did a good thing for LIFE when you sewed that seed ten years ago. God has blessed us so much. This year at LIFE our donations are strong, our staff is stable, we have no debts and we only buy things when the money is in the back." I thought that would bless him.
He said, "oh, so you are going to give me money because you're loaded." Well, LIFE is a charity and give to other charities, especially to help Christian radio managers with their start-up. But we don't really give to "for profit" companies.
I said, "well I'll pray about that. Have a nice summer."
Being a person with moderate depression, his crazy talk just sent me over the edge. He was not only a giver, but he imparted wisdom to me and I want to bless him with my thanks.
My pastor once told me don't accept any donation that has strings attached. Walk away.
I'm thinking quite seriously about sending back his $5,000 and telling him to bite me. I am so steamed.
I'd love to tell you his name because he's a local well-known guy. But I'll just bite my tongue and plow through the depression I'm left with.