Years ago I was at a Young Life camp near Sacramento, CA. They had a lake there and they also had fishing supplies. I remember putting a line in the water and watching the white and red bobber to see when it disappeared. After awhile I saw that there were other poles not in use, and I realized that I could put more lines in the water than just one. Soon, I had 3 bobbers in the water! The more bobbers the better, right? Do you realize that there are many people who are fishing and have NO BOBBERS in the water?

Bobbers work with lots of different professions. Any type of sales, fundraising, marketing, networking, or ticket sales all relate to having bobbers in the water. The best part about having a bobber in the water, or three, is that you get to watch the fruit of your efforts.

Let’s relate it today to two things I think I know well, or fairly well: Real Estate and fundraising.

A couple of weeks ago my neighbor said he was going to list his house. I immediately said, “Well, you should call Sam, he’s great.” I have never worked directly with Sam, but here is how Sam has his “bobbers in the water.”

  • Sam was at all our school events. I would see either him, or his name frequently.
  • Sam’s car has a big magnet on the side with his name and picture.
  • Sam drops off a new notepad at least monthly at my house – we love these note pads.
  • Sam played in our local Area golf tournament.
  • Sam invited me to his home for a big neighborhood gathering.
  • Sam picked up my email at some point and sends me emails with key events taking place in our community.
  • Sam just sent me 4 Padre tickets for giving his name to my neighbor.
  • Sam just sold a house – fish on!

Today I was meeting with one of our new staff, and shared the idea of “bobbers.” I shared with both him and a staff woman what it looks like to have a bobber in the water as you are striving to raise your budget in a charity. Here are some of the ways I shared with them they can have bobbers in the water for fundraising:

  • One AD sent out a letter and followed it up with phone calls. She received a $10,000 check.
  • One staff person asked a donor to put up a budget “year-end” matching gift, and he said he would get it matched. The donor gave 5k, and the Area met that challenge in the last month.
  • One staff person does a Mass Email Marketing blitz and got a great response.
  • One AD did a search on anyone who gave in last budget year, but at this point has not given in this year. They did a call-a-thon asking those people to not miss “helping us reach our budget.”
  • One staff person rallied together a team of folks who each said they would raise $1,000. 4 of them did it!
  • One Area did a newsletter with a special envelope and card that said – “Help us meet our budget!” The newsletter explained that our budget-year ends in September.
  • One AD just made a list of 20 people who had the potential to give a gift – AND CALLED EVERY ONE OF THEM.
  • One person did “personal” letters – on letterhead but were very thoughtful and very personal. The last paragraph asked them to consider a gift in September – handwritten!

What do you do? What could be bobbers for you? Some people sit in the chair and are waiting for the magic “it” to happen. It is much more strategic to first figure out the bobbers, cast them out in the water, and then sit and watch for them to go down!

Happy Fishing!


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