I was sad to learn about the passing of old-time TV star Art Linkletter Wednesday at age 97.
Linkletter was a genuine success who found his greatness in a way that critics and experts didn't understand and didn't like.
Television critics and intellectuals found the Linkletter persona bland and his popularity unfathomable. "There is nothing greatly impressive, one way or the other, about his appearance, mannerisms, or his small talk," one newspaper critic wrote. Another referred to his "imperishable banality."
Millions of Americans disagreed. They responded to his wholesome, friendly manner and upbeat appeal. Women ... loved his easy, enthusiastic way with children.
I don't know how he felt about being labeled with "imperishable banality," but he didn't seem to let it influence what he did.
And that's an inspiration. One a lot of fundraisers should note.
We so often get caught up playing to the experts -- in our case, it's our bosses and program directors who are the voices and personalities of our organizations. They want fundraising to be a certain way that tickles their fancy. And they are just as wrong as the critics were about Art Linkletter.
The stuff that works -- in fundraising and so many other fields -- is what the non-experts respond to. You can spend all your energy getting good reviews -- and fail. Or you can reach out to the real audience and do very, very well.
Thanks for the reminder, Art!