How Does Your Garden Grow?

January 29th, 2010   •   Comments Off on How Does Your Garden Grow?   

It’s true confession time. I am, at best, a lazy gardener. My garden has never looked so beautiful, nor been so healthy, as the day before I took possession of my home.The previous owners were avid and devoted gardeners (so my neighbours have told me) and the fruits of their labours were, in part, what attracted us to our current home.

The first summer we owned our home, I enthusiastically embraced the idea of gardening – how hard could it be? You throw some seeds/plants in the ground and then they grow. Two years later, I have yet to see even one sprout of a sunflower, despite having planted five packets of seeds, and the goutweed I worked so hard to eradicate in year one has come back three-fold and was still visible when the first snow fell in November.

So it turns out that gardening is hard work, after all. It requires research, planning, patience, and diligence. And sometimes, if you can’t get rid of the goutweed yourself, you’re wise to call for help. Many parallels can be drawn between growing a gardern and building successful fundraising programs:

  • If you’re not diligent, the weeds will take over. Your database is your garden, and organizations must be mindful that, without constant care and attention, data quickly becomes obsolete. People change jobs, they move, they die.  Before long, you’re wondering what happened to all the roses.
  • Sunflowers like sun; hostas like shade. Your donors are the plants and flowers in your garden. They have different wants and needs, and it’s your job to determine how to best cultivate and care for them.
  • Bamboo are among the fastest growing plants in the world; cacti among the slowest. And some donors will bloom quickly, others will take much more time. You can bet that the seeds of the recent $5 million gift from the Lazaridis family to the Stratford Festival were planted several years ago.
  • Perennials, annuals, bi-annuals, biennials – some bloom every year, some only once, and some twice/year; spring bloomers, summer bloomers, fall bloomers, evergreens – if you want a robust garden year-round, you’ll have to sow and cultivate a wide variety of plants. The same holds true for your fundraising garden.

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