Could giving be the secret to getting?

October 25, 2013

Dr. Adam Grant’s new book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, explains why being a giver is the best ‘strategy’ for business success.

He talks about the world of givers, matchers, and takers (and you’ll know exactly what he’s talking about as you reflect upon the people you meet every day).

Throughout the book Grant gives tangible examples of the difference between the world views of those who give and those who take.  In a chapter entitled “The Peacock and the Panda,” he instructs readers on how to spot a taker in a giver’s clothes, pointing out that “takers are often good fakers.”  Ken Lay of Enron is cited as a prime example, a man who, on the surface with his charitable foundation and talk of integrity, gave the appearance of being a giver, but was in reality a manipulative self-server.

Grant shares a marvelous story about the real power is in what he calls “powerless communication,” telling a tale of a young lawyer going up against a polished defense attorney with 25 years of experience — who wins over the jury with a stutter.  Grant notes that, while the slick, assertive monologues seem to carry the day, it can be the slightly hesitant, yet “realer” speech that wins out.


Takers tend to worry that revealing weaknesses will compromise their dominance and authority.  Givers are much more comfortable expressing vulnerability: they’re interested in helping others, not gaining power over them, so they’re not afraid of exposing chinks in their armor.  By making themselves vulnerable, givers can actually build prestige.”

How could this translate into your approach to fundraising?  You’re already a natural giver.  Take it even further.  Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability, to be genuine and transparent.  Don’t shy away from connecting with your donors on a very real and personal level.  Make those daily thank you phone calls, make the time for handwritten notes and cards, and even fun little gifts.  Make your communications real.  Practice writing regularly, and don’t worry if you’re not a writer…let your clients and your donors say it for you.



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