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The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand: Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving by Jeff Brooks

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Chapter FourteenThe Culture of the Donor-Focused Organization

One of my favorite things about baseball is how the players watch the game. When they aren't on the field, they line up along the fence between the dugout and the field. They lean over it like a row of 10-year-old boys, chewing gum, even elbowing each other like happy kids at a game.

I get a “morning in America” feeling when I see that: The game proceeds at its stately pace, the grass is green, the hot dogs savory, and the players are aligned with their fans, enjoying the game with the same sense of joy. All is well.

But my outlook darkens when I notice some of the players who aren't watching. There are always a few—usually the overpaid, underperforming superstars who seem to exist to drain the teams' budgets and make the fans stop caring. Those guys sit glumly on the bench, enduring the game, clearly signaling that they have something better to do. You almost can't blame them: After all, each season has 162 games, plus 30-some spring training games, plus (if they're lucky) playoff games. That's an awful lot of baseball.

But come on! This is Major League Baseball! They're living the dream. And they make a ton of money doing it.

If a handful of those disengaged baseball players is bad, imagine a whole team of them: players who find baseball an embarrassing ...

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