Monday, July 11, 2011

Brindle Cat, Fundraising Executive

For many years, I was employed in the exciting field of charitable fundraising. During that time, I worked with some amazing fundraisers—people who could convince donors to give away upwards of $100K in exchange for nothing more than the nebulous sensation of “a good feeling in their hearts.”

However, none of those nonprofit leaders can hold a candle to this cat:
Brindle Cat, Fundraising Executive
Brindle Cat, as we call him, technically belongs to the family two doors down from us. But I happen to know that no less than five people in the neighborhood (including myself) feed this little fundraising genius on a regular basis.Through a series of highly effective “donor acquisition and retention strategies,” the neutered tabby has secured a cadre of Regular Donors (a term that, deceptively, has nothing to do with fiber consumption).

If you count petting sessions (get your mind out of the gutter!) as One-Time Individual Contributions, Brindle Cat has attracted more donors than Barack Obama, The United Way, and The Red Cross combined. He routinely stops random passer-bys in their tracks. He'll insist that you scratch his belly or behind his ears for at least five minutes. If you dare not comply, he’ll run in front of you and flop down on his back to block your path, as if to say, “This belly isn’t going to pet itself, bee-yach.” 
Won't YOU make a difference, by petting my belly TODAY?
Even Cat Agnostics are no match for Brindle Cat. I’ve seen people who profess to be morbidly allergic to cats stopping to pet him, at peril of going into anaphylactic shock. He’s just that good at what he does. In fundraising-speak, Brindle Cat knows the art of “The Ask.” Wordlessly, he can solicit Major Gifts in the form of cat food, caresses, and shelter from the rain and/or cold. 
A Regular Donor Provides Back Door Home #5 for Brindle Cat
I could be rushing out the door, late to an appointment, or perhaps on the way to the Emergency Room with a burst appendix, and Brindle Cat can always convince me to go back into the house to get him some cat food. If he isn’t in the mood for dry food, he can guilt me into “increasing my generous support” to include wet food. 
Brindle Cat with a One-Time Donor
They should hire Brindle Cat to be a University President. He would be great. Let’s say a school needs a new wing for a library building. Below is a transcript of Brindle Cat’s would-be conversation with a Potential Major Donor, Mrs. Henry R. Van Der Money.

Mrs. Van Der Money: Six million? Why, Mr. Brindle, that is a significant amount.
Brindle Cat: Meeeow. Meoow?
Mrs. VDM:  You flatter me. But no, I haven’t had work done! Just getting more rest, lately.
BC: Purrrrrrr.
Mrs. VDM: Well. You make a good point. I would feel good about showing up the Livingstons, who were bragging about their donation to … (ahem) I mean … I would feel good about helping to eradicate poverty.
BC: Mrrr-ow?
Mrs. VDM:  Promoting knowledge, whatever. How big would the letters be on the “Van der Money Library” signage? Will it be visible from the window of a passing limousine?
BC:  Rooow.
Mrs. VDM: Naturally, name recognition means nothing to me. But the signage will be on the main entrance?
BC: Purrr. Purr. [leg rub]
Mrs. VDM: For another four million?! Brindle cat, stop nuzzling my neck!  Normally, I don’t approve of premarital nuzzling, but …What? I’ll be profiled in the Annual Report? An article called “Mrs. Van Der Money: Best Person Since Jesus!”? My!  Oh my!
BC:  Me. Ow?
Mrs. VDM:  Okay, ten million. Really. That’s the best I can do. What with the price of jet fuel going through the roof…
BC: [Silent Meow]
Mrs. VDM:  You really want to break me, don’t you? Okay, fine. I’ll throw in a case of wet food. Don’t look at me like that, please. (Sigh) Fine. I’ll throw in some of those Fancy Feast Appetizers, too.


  1. Dear Readers! This post has been inexplicably popular, although it's one of my more boring/least funny posts EVER. Basically, it's an inside joke for anyone who's ever worked in nonprofit fundraising (which is ironic, since fundraising is generally a humorless endeavor). There are other posts that are much more entertaining, I promise! Some even contain cats.

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