Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Box of 64’s with the Built-in Sharpener

There’s really nothing that brings back memories like the smell of a box of Crayola Crayons.  When I was little, you either had the giant box of 64 Crayola Crayons with the built-in sharpener, or you wanted one.

The Crayola marketing geniuses certainly made all of the kids think that they just couldn't draw a respectable sunset without Burnt Sienna.  And, with a dull crayon?  Forgettaboutit.

But, I’m here to tell ya, folks…bigger isn't always better.

That may sound a bit odd coming from a non-profit organization that relies on donations to fulfill our mission of creating a better quality of life in Grant County.  It’s still early in the morning as I write this eNews article and we've already had two noteworthy donations come in.  One donation would be along the line of a box of 64’s; the other donation would more toward the standard box of 8.  But, to me, both are significant.  And you don’t even have to leave the crayon industry to understand why.

Let me introduce to you Senior Crayon Maker, Emerson Moser.  Moser made over 1.4 Billion crayons prior to his retirement from Crayola in 1990.  His life’s work, 37 years, was spent creating colorful ways for children to express themselves.  Although that may not be impressive in and of itself, upon retirement Moser announced that he was, in fact, colorblind!

Apparently, one day Moser made a decision.  He decided that the hindrance of being colorblind was not going to stop him from being successful at Crayola.  His dedication to that decision throughout the years eventually propelled him to, maybe the most awesome title I've ever heard, Senior Crayon Maker.  In other words, Moser showed his true colors. ;)

This isn't altogether different than the two donors I spoke of earlier.  Both of them decided one day that they would make annual gifts to the Community Foundation.  And both of them have loyally followed through with their gift-giving promise.  These generous donors know that we will invest their donations efficiently and distribute them effectively.  They are partners with the Foundation.  They follow the work we do.  They appreciate our leadership.  They trust us.  But, ultimately, they made a decision.  The decision to give loyally and annually. 

Maybe you haven’t decided to be a loyal, annual donor yet.  (Unless you believe that no decision is actually a decision.)  But, this I know for sure, loyal donors can be the difference between a successful non-profit and a significant non-profit.  With occasional donors, we can make grants. With loyal donors, we can make a difference.  With occasional donors, we can make scholarships possible.  With loyal donors, we can make college diplomas possible. With occasional donors, we can focus on immediate needs.  With loyal donors, we can focus on strategic needs.  See the difference?

This reminds me of a quote I learned long ago:  The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved'; the pig was 'committed'.”

Make a decision today to be a committed, loyal donor.  To give annually, no matter what amount.  To help us move the needle and make an impact.  After all, there’s a fine line between success and significance, involvement and commitment…and it’s probably drawn with Burnt Sienna.
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