Noshir H. Dadrawala, pp. 212, Rs. 300, Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy Publication
My involvement with various philanthropic institutions began with fund raising. In fact, I even owe my present involvement with the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) to fund raising. As Project Manager of a development institution in Mumbai, I had approached the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust for a grant to support a community project. In the process of securing the grant, I came in touch with Mr. R.M. Lala, Director of the Trust. In the year 1986 when he, along with other leading lights like the Late Mr. H.T. Parekh, Mr. R.R. Chari, Mr. D.M. Forbes and others, launched CAP, I was invited to join as its first Executive Secretary.
Booker Washington in 'Up From Slavery' writes, "While the work of going from door to door and from office to office is hard, disagreeable and costly in bodily strength, it has some compensations... It (also) has its compensations in giving one an opportunity to meet some of the best people in the world."
I dare say, if I were not a fund raiser, I perhaps would not have met Mr. Lala (and so many other interesting people) and perhaps would not have been involved with CAP and writing this book.
Personally, 1 find fund raising to be a satisfying and challenging task in the field of philanthropy. It provides tremendous opportunity for unleashing one's creative energies and meeting all kinds of interesting and eminent people.
When 1 entered the field of philanthropy more than two decades ago I was very young, a stranger both to the field and the community. My only qualifications as a fund raiser were good intentions and the willingness to experiment and learn. I neither had a guru (master), nor friends who were professional fund raisers. I was absolutely on my own.
I still remember the first time I visited a corporate office in connection with securing a grant for a community project. I left my residence in the morning humming, 'I have confidence in me…..", sat in the visitors' lobby, anxious and edgy, haunted with thoughts of being insulted, being called a beggar or much worse. Ten minutes later, I left the office without meeting anyone, guilt and depression writ large over my face.
The second time it was different. I approached someone I knew, someone with whom I could talk comfortably. The strategy, too, was different. I was primarily apprising the person of the work my institute was doing. Whether he would support the cause or not was secondary. I returned that day with a cheque towards the project and the names of five other persons who, according to my first donor, would be inclined to support the project. He even agreed to give me a letter of introduction. The five windows he opened for me set up a chain reaction, taking me off on a long voyage of discovery and growth.
Ever since, I have been guided by two fundamental principles (both being my own) in my occasional fund raising drives:
In my opinion, fund raising is fun. It helps one to understand human nature and study behavioural patterns of all kinds of people in the laboratory of day-to-day fieldwork. There is also tremendous scope for cultivating qualities of courage, leadership, patience, persistence and understanding. As far as targets (and the challenge in meeting them) are concerned, the sky is the limit. There can hardly be a dull moment for a creative and enterprising fund raiser.
'The Art of Fund Raising' was first published in 1992 and all the copies printed were sold out within about a year's time. A revised and enlarged edition was long overdue. Having put pen to paper, once again, my mind keenly traversing the field of fund raising, I find there is a lot more I'd like to say on this subject than I did, more than a decade ago. I am confident this work will also be received just as warmly and enthusiastically as the previous one.
As always, I am grateful to the Chairman, Mr. R.M. Lala, and the Board of Directors of the Centre, particularly Mr. R.R. Chari, for encouraging and supporting all my literary initiatives.
I would also like to express and place on record my deep sense of gratitude to Dr. Kathleen D. McCarthy, Director, Center for the Study of Philanthropy, New York, for giving me the opportunity, in 1990, to acquire specialized training and experience in fund raising as practised in the U.S.A.; to Mr. Russy D. Sumariwalla, Senior Fellow, United Way Strategic Institute, U.S.A., for inviting me to Washington D.C. in June 1991 to participate in the United Way Systems Course and gain valuable insights into the working of this premier fund raising institution; to my friend, Mr. Vijay Rangan, a certified fund raiser in the U.S.A., for providing me with valuable resource material on the subject.
Special thanks to Union Press for their excellent printing and last, but not the least, I am grateful to my able colleague, Mrs. Yasmin F. Daruwala, for her assistance in the layout and proofreading of this book.
Noshir H. Dadrawala
P.S.: In fund raising, you need a lot of luck, The harder you work, the luckier you get.