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A Fundraising Lesson from Gomer Pyle

Jim Nabors.  Gomer Pyle.  Is there a fundraising lesson there?

You betcha.

The Indianapolis 500 is this weekend and for those of us who can’t be there, it is really not the same since they abandoned radio for a television broadcast.  The sheer artistry of the five radio announcers, painting a picture for the listener as they “sent” the lead car around each turn on the final lap toward the checkered flag.

It was thrilling.

When Jim Nabors finished his run as Gomer Pyle he retired to Hawaii, bought a huge piece of land and became a macadamia nut farmer.

Don’t laugh.  He made a fortune.

Jim came back to the mainland once a year, for the Indianapolis 500.

You see, old Jim had one heck of a voice.  Immediately prior to the singing of the National Anthem Jim would serenade the throng of spectators with his version of “Back Home in Indiana.”

And. The. Crowd. Went. Crazy.

Every year.  Jim sang that song exactly the same way at exactly the same time.

I bet you there were some folks who actually came to the race just to hear him sing.  Why?  Because they knew it would be exactly the same.

That is what Tradition means.  And people are starved for tradition.

Why?  Most everyone hates change.  We know that change is inevitable but deep inside, we loath change.

We want things to be exactly the same as they’ve always been.

Donors want that, too.  Think about it.

Is there something at your organization that stays the same year after year?  Hold it up on a pedestal!

Or make your own new tradition.  Give it a year or two and then remember I told you, on this glorious Memorial Day weekend at Indy:

Donors want tradition.

Have a great weekend, my friends.

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