The Right and Wrong of Financial Partnership

There are people in this world who love fundraising! They enjoy the calling, meeting, and pitching projects to people in order to ask them to give more and more every year.

Fundraising is wonderful! But is it? Seriously?

Take for example the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life; Mr. Potter, who was "successful" (fully funded), but only in a transactional way. He was successful in the sense that he never had to worry about money. Mr. Potter always had what he wanted because he spent his life scheming about how to get more.

But here’s the catch for Mr. Potter:

Money doesn't grow on trees, no matter how much time you've spent trying to cultivate a money tree. But there's something better than a money tree: time spent cultivating real partnership.

Contrast this with George Bailey, who lived his life in a way that displayed a mission we are called to accomplish together. You can read more about communicating a mission done together here.

George Bailey’s mission is to build affordable homes through his savings and loan. He was selfless in letting his brother, Harry, go off to college while he stayed and worked the mission to help Harry accomplish his own dreams. George even gave up his honeymoon money to get his neighbors through a crisis. In all, he lived sacrificially, and many benefitted from his generosity.

Then, one day, George Bailey’s partners showed up and saved his life. George had a real need. He needed money or he was going to jail through no fault of his own (crazy story). His partners, really everyone in his community, invested in his need willingly. Some gave sacrificially, finding it easy to jump in to sacrifice for George as soon as his wife asked them.

There was a real interdependency at work - the community needed George to keep the building and loan open so they could have affordable, safe housing, and George needed the community to rescue him from an unexpected and unavoidable problem.

This is a beautiful example of partnership.

While George Bailey is not a perfect example of how we advise every organization or individual to accomplish partnership, the point is clear. When you are part of a financial partnership with a donor, you should be finding ways to fulfill a need in your donor’s lives. While on the same account, they are fulfilling a need in you or your organization’s mission by their giving and consequently also by their direct involvement with the mission.


Kiley Hawkins, Co-Founder

On the weekends, when I’m not cheering on the Liverpool Football Club, you’ll find me working outside on my farm. At Tailored, I get most excited about helping organizations achieve alignment around their mission. It's a privilege to be a part of other organizations by thinking strategically and creatively to connect funding and impact.

Let's talk about your fundraising!
First name 
Last Name 

3 Clear Ways to Communicate a Problem in Need of a Solution

5 Responses to Funding You Can Turn Into a Yes