It is hard for me to believe, but today marks the 25th anniversary of the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog’s Day. I love this movie! I loved it the first time I saw it (when I was like 4 years old, I think), and I love it again and anew every time I see it.
The director Harold Ramis said as soon as it opened, he got calls from the head of nearly every religion and movement. They applauded him for so engagingly capturing core values of their faith. I applaud him for making a wonderful movie reflecting the fundamental element of fundraising: relationships.
To me, the most vocal lesson of the movie might be, “Don’t drive angry.” And that is sound advice. But the underlying lesson – which apparently transcends a specific faith belief – is that it is relationships that matter most.
In the movie, Bill Murray’s character – TV Weatherman Phil Connors – uses stunts (piano playing, lavishly spending money, and cool card tricks) only to wake up on Groundhog’s Day…again. It wasn’t until he understood that meaningful, sincere relationships were key did he wake up on February 3rd.
The same is true in fundraising. The latest gimmick, slickest brochure, cleverest trinket or the most generous tax code will not bring real success. Fundraising success – and in turn mission success – comes with the understanding that relationships matter.
Focus on relationships at all levels – friends, family, co-workers, clients, and donors. All the same, don’t drive angry.