It was the morning of April Fools Day, 2005, and I was scheduled to meet with one of our best clients. Around 10:00 a.m. I got a phone call from the development director of the nonprofit saying he was very sorry but there was no need for me to come to their location because they had gotten word that their major funding source was withdrawing support for the foreseeable future.
I expressed my sympathies and tried to explain logically that it was even more important that we meet so that we could plan on fine tuning their annual fund appeals for the rest of the year. He explained to me that he had already had that very discussion with his executive director who had told him in no uncertain terms that, as a result of the loss of funding, they were not going to do any further solicitations.
I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. This client was one that we’d enjoyed success and had a great relationship with for some time. I hated losing them.
About 5 minutes later the phone rang again. It was the same development director whose first words to me were, “April Fools!” He re-assured me that he was just kidding and that he and his executive director were looking forward to our meeting later in the afternoon. I thought his prank was a little unprofessional, but it was April Fools Day so I said to myself, okay, he got me that time.
Here’s where my story becomes like an episode of Twilight Zone. I arrived at the nonprofit’s office at the appointed time and the development director was there to greet me. We went into his office and were laughing about his successful April Fool joke at my expense when in came the executive director with a look on his face that told me he had gotten some bad news. I thought to myself, I hope his family is okay; he looks like his best friend just died.
He sat down and slowly began to explain that he had just received a call from his major funding source and that they were very apologetic but they were reducing funding to the social service organization by 90%. The development director and I looked at each other without speaking. What was there to say?
Sadly, that organization no longer exists. No April Fools.