The Teeth For Chewing

“We want you to be the teeth for chewing, not for smiling”.

Josh Thompson said that. He’s a no-nonsense guy I work with. The type of guy who wears a baseball cap backwards while he’s talking to billionaires. Josh doesn’t stand on ceremony.

And why should he?

“Engagement” is a word we throw around a lot. In fundraising, it’s our way of making sure we’re top of mind. In social media, it’s the measure of the forces that keep you hooked on the page.

Engagement is about power exchange.

Most often, it’s an organization doing their best to exert power on an individual — it’s dictating how you should spend your time, which links to click, which parties to attend.

Josh’s idea of engagement is different. And correct.

Donors don’t want to be a pretty face on your annual report. They want to do something. And when Josh says “we want you to be the teeth for chewing, not for smiling”, he means that we want our donors to go to work.

Our donors won’t be shiny veneers. They’ll be in the muck and the mire, getting shit done.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if other organizations treated their customers the same way? As partners in the fight — not as resources to be exploited.

Munch on that for a bit.