That is how we feel about our clients. Ever read the Berenstain Bears books to children? Our son, Austin, liked them a lot. If it was our turn to pick, we usually chose Learn About Strangers. Austin talked to everyone, and everyone loved talking him. (By the way, he still does). After letting him slip out of our sight a couple of times because he was engrossed in conversation, we grew very concerned about this.Austin would sit on my lap and I would read it to him, then we would go through the check list at the end of the book together. I would ask, “Austin, do you understand what to do when you see a stranger?”To which he would respond, “Yeah, Dad.”“Then why do you talk to everyone?”“They aren’t strangers, Dad! They want to be my friends.”Well, that is the way we are as a company. Our clients are our friends, our prospects become our friends, and many of our clients’ donors become friends. That is because we are genuinely interested in how we can help and be supportive of their dreams. You know what it is like to develop friendships. You have been doing it since you were born, haven’t you? In the best friendships, we say, “We are in this together.”Well, in our relationships, we are raising money together. And that, my friend, puts you in the thick of things pretty quickly.Sometimes prospects tell us, “You are so big. We are too small for you to care about us.”Nothing could be further from the truth.Sure, we are big, but we are the only consulting firm that has offered free service to struggling nonprofits in four states and the District of Columbia, helping 140 nonprofits in the first half of this year. Many were strangers—that is, until we got to know their dreams and helped them find ways to increase philanthropy, because they needed to serve those who were depending on them to fulfill their missions.We have walked side by side, “held the hands” of small nonprofits with only a few hundred thousand dollars of revenue, and helped them raise millions of dollars in a campaign.Our growth has been through helping all levels and sizes of nonprofits.Most of the people we worked with were strangers when we met. But they remained strangers only a short time. Raising money together has developed friendships that last a lifetime. More importantly, those friendships have changed lives in countless ways.Now, who wants to be friends?Let’s be friends on Facebook!
Photo credits: National WWI Museum
President and Trustee
The Sunderland Foundation
Recipient of the
2018 GROWING PHILANTHROPY AWARD FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL CAPITAL PHILANTHROPY
Kent Sunderland was presented with the prestigious Growing Philanthropy Award in Kansas City by Hartsook President and CEO
Matthew J. Beem during National WWI Museum and Memorial’s VIP event, Night at the Tower.
He was nominated by Matthew Naylor, Ph.D., President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, and was selected unanimously by Hartsook Institutes and the International Board of Visitors Growing Philanthropy Committee.
Kent was Vice Chairman of Ash Grove Cement prior to its recent sale. As President of The Sunderland Foundation, he has played a significant role in advancing philanthropy with major gifts.
The Growing Philanthropy Award recognizes a distinguished group of individuals and organizations whose efforts increase philanthropy through research, innovation and challenging the status quo. For more information, contact [email protected].