Kiss and Tell (or Be Straight With Your Donors)

By Katherine Kerr, APR

One ritual of the holiday season is kissing under the mistletoe as prescribed by the late, great Burl Ives.

Growing up in the Texas Panhandle, going to college in Missouri and then living 11 years in Houston, we didn’t see mistletoe except as small pricey packaged sprigs around this time of year. Buying those dried-out suggestions of romance and tacking them over a doorway with the hope of snagging a kiss was fun.

Now that I live in Central Texas, my attitude toward mistletoe has altered significantly.

I’m not trying to be a Grinch, but you see, the sweet little plant is a parasite that kills trees.mistletoe tree We’ve already lost two trees to this invasive plant and the last three are slowly dying. This symbol of fertility really is a deadly nuisance.

When I first realized the harm that mistletoe does I felt like I had been bamboozled, like I was the subject of a bait and switch.

How many times have you been duped? You thought you were getting one thing and instead it was something else completely, maybe even something bad.

When communicating to your stakeholders, make sure you provide the straight story. Fact check what you’re saying about your mission and what you do with the precious dollars that donors give you. You want donors to love you so that when they kiss and tell, they say you deliver.

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