What was to be a Day of Service designed to help nonprofits with their funding needs turned into four days.  As a part of the first National Growing Philanthropy Conference, Hartsook, along with The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, sponsored this event.  We expected 12 nonprofits to take advantage of our highly skilled and talented Hartsook teams.  Instead, over 50 signed up.

This wasn’t just a “drop by and get some advice” event.  This was a hands-on commitment to growing philanthropy.  Each nonprofit agreed to participate in a pre-consultation interview, bring at least three people including at least one board member, agree to three action steps as a result of the two-hour session, and be available for a follow-up in 60 days.

In mid-December we distributed the announcement that nonprofits with funding challenges were invited to participate.  On the first day of the announcement, 23 nonprofits responded.  The second day, there were 31, then 36, and so on.  We decided, to the extent possible, we would turn no one away.  By mid-January, over 50 had signed up. The program was held on January 20 and 21, and will finish on February 11 and 12, with 16 Hartsook consultants working with nearly 200 board members and staff of Kansas City area nonprofits.

The morning of January 21, there were six groups engaged at one time with two or three consultants working with each nonprofit.  Each of our consultants has wonderful, inspiring stories to tell but since this is my blog, I will tell mine.

I worked with four very eclectic groups: a community symphony, a health education center, a children’s home, and the felony-to-work organization, Beyond the Conviction.

So I began my day with three men who represented convicted felons.  I am so thankful to them and to the scheduler that they were my first visit.  They expanded my horizons.  If you think you have trouble raising money, try doing it for felons!

Mike Jackson, Ruben Paiz, and Patrick Danley were articulate, thoughtful and, frankly, successful.  I asked what their goal was and they said, without hesitation, “safety first—for the public and the felon—and developing the best-qualified job seeker.”

Like every nonprofit, they have a mission and a need.   Through a long conversation, we developed a three-point plan.  They have placed staff at some of the largest corporations in the city.  I told them those were their prospects, along with their board members.

The Hartsook team and partners knew going in we wouldn’t change the world in just two hours.  But we also knew the power of a plan, no matter how small, when combined with goal-oriented, committed individuals.

Well, two days later Mike proved our point.  Already, he had contacted the community foundation to establish his Donor Edge file and was on a schedule to get in front of two of his major supporters.  Each of these groups has moved dramatically as a result of their efforts and our work.

I couldn’t be more proud of the men and women of Hartsook who made this day happen.  Beyond helping these nonprofits, the payback was how good our team felt by giving of their talent, which just happens to be fundraising.  Ask any nonprofit where their needs lie.

As fundraisers we spend a lot of time celebrating philanthropy and little time highlighting what we do: fundraise.

You may get tired of hearing that Hartsook Companies and Hartsook Institutes are committed to GROWING PHILANTHROPY.  It’s not just talk.  Ask Mike, or any of the other 149 people we worked with.  It is real, and it is happening right before our eyes.