Jeff Schreifels

Jeff Schreifels

If you like baseball, tennis, golf, Gregorian chant, jazz, rock, good wine and deep conversation, then you’ll like to hang out with Jeff. 

If you are passionate about fundraising, Jeff will inspire you to be a true “broker of love” for your donors, helping you bring together a donor’s desire to change the world and the world’s greatest needs. Jeff believes that if nonprofits truly want to grow and obtain more net revenue for their mission, it will come through creating, building and successfully managing major-gift programs. The Connections blog will give you inspiration and practical advice to help you succeed. Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and is senior partner of the Veritus Group.

You Need to Make Mistakes

Making a mistake is one of the best things you can do. Did I just say that? Yes. And, I mean it. I’ve talked many times about how we all need to own up to our mistakes and that donors will appreciate it when you do. Today, I want to urge you not to be afraid to make mistakes...

When Should You Hire a MGO?

You want to develop a major gift program for your nonprofit, but you’re not sure you have enough donors to warrant hiring a major gift officer. Or you are growing your major gift program, and you’re wondering when it makes sense to hire another MGO to add to your team...

Do You Want to Be an Awesome MGO?

When people ask you what you do for a living, how do you talk about it? When you are finished telling the person what you do and why, are they thinking: “Wow, this person really loves their job,” or “Hmm… I’m glad I’m not doing what they are doing...

What Do You Control?

I once worked with a major gift officer, Janet (not her real name) who was so grounded as a person, nothing seemed to rattle her. Janet was incredibly gifted at developing relationships, staying focused and doing all the “little things” right...

It’s Time to Let Those Donors Go

Letting go… It’s not always easy, is it? Anyone who has had to take their child to college or end a relationship knows saying goodbye is never easy. It’s also not easy for you as a major gift officer (MGO) when a donor, who you have been stewarding and cultivating over time, no longer meets the criteria as a major donor...

Don’t Read This If You’re Looking for a Shortcut in Major Gifts

We believe that being a major gift officer is the hardest fundraising job in the industry. It’s incredibly hard. You have to not only develop relationships with donors, but with every one of your colleagues to help you inspire and solicit donors with your organization’s great projects...

A Day in the Life of a Great MGO

Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of major-gift officers. Some are good, some are not so good and some are extraordinary. We’re working with a number of extraordinary ones right now. The other day, I asked one of these great MGOs to tell me what a typical day looks like, so I could share it with you to give you an idea of how an extraordinary MGO goes about her day...

Work/Life Balance: You Can’t Do it All

In a recent survey we sent out, it was amazing how many responses we received that lamented on how you don’t have enough time to do all the work required of you and how stressed out that makes you. You talked about how there is so much pressure on you and you are pulled in so many directions that you don’t have time to actually cultivate and steward your donors...

How Are You Treating Your ‘C’ List Donors?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the C-level donors on your portfolio lately. Why? Well, I was reviewing a mid-level program the other day and tracking all the donors that have moved from mid-level to major-gift portfolios… It was quite impressive...

Major Gifts: Do You Want to Live in Fear or Freedom?

Through my experiences of fear and working to move past it, I also know what it’s like to live in freedom. Believe me, that freedom place is so much better. Today, I’m going to outline what it looks like when major-gift professionals allow fear to take over and then what it looks like when we can live in freedom. ..

Change Starts With You

Typically when Richard and I talk to MGOs about building a culture of philanthropy at their organization, there is a lot of finger pointing from the staff at management. I get that. It’s easier to look outside yourself to see what is wrong with a situation then to look inward...

Want to Increase Major-Donor Revenue? Embrace Discipline

Let me say this one final time. No discipline—no growth. Major gifts are all about staying focused on the plan and working it. This requires meeting consistently with a manager to discuss what has been done and what you will be doing to nurture relationships with your donors. Do this and you will be successful...

Looking the Donor in the Eye: Why Face-to-Face Fundraising Is Still Essential

I know that some major donors have given extremely large gifts over the phone, or even in a direct-mail appeal. I’m sure you have heard those stories. But, it’s rare. Donors want you to sit down with them and ask for a significant investment. If you are at a point where it’s time to challenge your donors, the only way to get over that hump is to look a donor in the eye and ask for that gift...

Events, Major Gifts and Moving From Transactional to Transformational

I was recently talking to Susan, a development director for a regional nonprofit, and she was lamenting that she had another gala to put together. Even though this gala takes an enormous amount of time and effort from the staff, the executive director and the board want to keep it going because it brings in almost half of their revenue each year. Susan wasn’t upset about all the time and effort it took to pull it off each year, but the fact that the revenue generated by the event was really in transactional gifts, not mission-oriented gifts...

How to Succeed in Your First 60 days

If you or someone you know is either looking for an MGO position or just started in one, I’m going to give you a road map for what to do in your first 60 days. If you follow this road map, you will not only start out your position on the right foot, but you will also give your manager a sigh of relief and, ultimately, comfort your donors. There are two things you need to concentrate on...