My partner Dana has an unusual obsession with Mount Washington. The 6,148-foot New Hampshire peak holds the world record of the highest wind speed ever recorded on land: 231 mph back in 1934.

It’s a running joke when we are traveling and meet other people from around the world how long it will take for him to start talking about Mount Washington.

The Mount Washington Observatory is a non-profit organization, and he has made a small donation to them every year for several years. This year, for the first time, a member of the Observatory team called Dana to thank him for being a regular donor and to share how much his donation meant to the organization.

When he saw on his watch that the Mount Washington Observatory was calling him, he scrambled to find his phone. “Whaaat? The Mount Washington Observatory is calling me?”

When she asked “Why do you support us?" he had to share everything he loves about it, including:

  • Hiked the mountain when he was 14 years old.
  • Always wanted to be a meteorologist, but guidance counselors told him there was more money in computers.
  • Loves how their research informs climate change.
  • Appreciates what they do for hikers through their higher summits forecast.

Before the end of their call, she asked that important question: “Anything else?”

He excitedly told her that he was now retired and that he would love to volunteer there but didn’t know how to get started. And she replied, “As a matter of fact, I oversee our volunteer program!”

In less than a week, he had his background check done and he was signed up to give a week of his time working in the museum/souvenir shop, cooking dinner for the meteorologists, and doing some light cleaning.

For a whole week! 24/7. He will sleep in the bunk house, do a variety of chores, and pet their cat Nimbus. It’s a dream come true for him. He also said if they had asked for another donation on the spot, he would have gotten out his checkbook.

What should you be asking yourself after hearing this story?

  • Why are your donors so passionate about your mission?
  • What ties do you not know about from their history?
  • Who might you ask for a second gift?

Most importantly: Who loves your organization so much that they will dart for the phone when they see it’s you?




This month, we're celebrating the power of the team with DBD Group's "Better Together" series. It's how we approach our work and how we've seen great success with nonprofits across the country. When we work together, we can accomplish so much more.                                                                     

Posted by Kellie Wardman
Kellie Wardman

Written by Kellie Wardman

Kellie Wardman, PCC, CPCC, has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years, serving as a consultant and executive coach for a wide range of innovative and impactful leaders and organizations. She has provided clients with comprehensive support in a wide range of disciplines, including strategic planning, board development and governance, facilitating partnerships and collaborations, and capital development.

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