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Maps Still Matter

(Deacon) Larry A. Vaclavik, Managing Principal
May 16, 2014

In an age in which GPS is everywhere, we can travel from here to there without using a map. As one who travels from one new city to the next, I am amazed at how much longer it takes to learn a city’s geography, while benefitting from the audio instructions of GPS. “Turn left. Merge in 1000 feet. Lane ends. Take Exit 6A.” While all of these instructions followed closely can get me from point A to point B, they don’t help me to learn St. Louis, Nashville or Philadelphia. These instructions in bits – do this and then that – don’t give me a sense of direction or the spatial relationship between City Hall, the airport and my client. The fact is verbal instructions give us some information but not the whole picture.

The same is true in fundraising. A spoken solicitation, backed up by a well-articulated case or solicitation rationale, may provide much of the information needed to make a giving decision. At the same time, the spoken word may not give us the whole picture. Like maps, the scale of gifts or gift giving pyramid, gives us a visual picture of the geography of a campaign – the location of large gifts and the markers of completed gifts. This picture can help the prospective donor gain confidence that you, the solicitor, truly know where you are in the campaign and where you need to go.

Whether presented in a printed handout or on an IPAD, the scale of gifts continues to be an invaluable tool that should be used to help complete the story in every solicitation. Road maps and gift maps still matter.