Daniel Burnham was right…..MAKE NO SMALL PLANS!


Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. ~ Daniel Burnham

by Mike Bruni, Partner, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

Sometimes, our history is exactly the thing that stifles plans, thoughts and even inspiration.  I was reminded of this lesson through one of our clients.  A basic tenet of fundraising is “the best indicator of future giving is past giving”  While that has proven to play out time and time again, I suggest sometimes that “the best indicator of future giving is past asking!”  Ask yourself the important question…”have we asked for enough in the past?”  Truly challenge yourself and others in the institution.   It takes a courageous institution to ask for large investments.  It takes a passionate organization to think boldly.  It takes a visionary organization to ask aggressively.  Have you been courageous enough?  Have you been passionate enough?  Have you been visionary enough?

Just as we always want to “push” our donors to be as generous as they can, ask ourselves first, are we being as courageous as we can….even SHOULD be?

Bottom line, some investors are simply not going to be motivated to make a stretch gift if the ‘case” isn’t bold enough.  I fully realize it’s a delicate balance but don’t underestimate the generosity of your constituents IF the case is truly bold, audacious and inspiring.

Make no small plans…….small plans don’t inspire.  DREAM BIG…it will surprisingly inspire others to GIVE BIG!


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