Every day on the radio or streaming from my phone I hear numerous solos—individuals jamming to their own beat or bands rocking out with their lead singer. But when a duet comes on, that is when I stop and listen. There is something magical about two people working together to create something. I can say the same for the art of development.
I have spent the last 15 years in advancement. When I look back over my career, my most memorable and successful moments are those shared with an academic partner. I have worked with several deans, all unique, with different comfort levels in the area of fundraising. However, each one recognized the importance of development and collaborating with his or her development team.
It is not just deans who make great partners. Faculty and clinicians have great stories to tell. There is no way I can share your story like you can. You are where you are today because you believe in what you do. You choose your path carefully and with great sacrifice because you see a need you can fill. That is the kind of story we all want to hear, especially those looking to make a significant philanthropic investment. So why do you need me? I choose my path because I believe in you as well. Your development team partners choose you. They choose your story to believe in and want to help others hear your story. They are both your partner and your fan club.
The music analogy is appropriate because this partnership often leads to many hours out on the road. I have shared many miles, songs, stories, and much of my life with my academic partners. There is no way to spend that much time traveling together and not end up with a few “tales of the road.” Together, you and your development partners will create a masterpiece you can share with donors and friends. I hope you will find a partnership with your development professional to rival Sonny and Cher, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. Your duet will cause donors to stop, listen and maybe even turn up the volume!
Take the development duet with your dean to the next level—attend the Professional Fundraising for Deans and Academic Leaders workshop together.