10 Reasons Why Most Major-Gift Programs (Stink)! — Nos. 8-10
All that other stuff — thanking, reporting back, honoring, involving, asking donors — will all happen if these five points are taken care of. I feel we spend so much time talking about these basic things that we don't look at the bigger issues preventing these "little things" from becoming part of our daily practice as a nonprofit.
Finally, be inspiring! Donors want to be inspired. Donors give because it feels good. I don't care what your nonprofit does. If you can inspire people, you will see more support.
So, who's up for the challenge? Who wants to change the culture of our nonprofits? Who wants to inspire? Let's do it!
Reason #9 — We don't tell donors how they made a difference
This is another one of those "no brainers" that we keep failing to do right. It's amazing to me when I present the slide below everyone seems to understand it, but few are actually practicing it.
This graphic shows a typical communication cycle we like to implement with an major-gift officer's caseload. Notice the YMAD? That is you made a difference!
Most nonprofits do a great job of identifying problems and asking. Some are even pretty good at thanking, but most have a very hard time reporting back and specifically telling the donor how they made a difference. I cannot stress how critical this is.
Let me tell you a true story. I won't tell you the name of the nonprofit, because, quite frankly, it's too damn embarrassing. But, I tell it because it's an all too typical occurrence. A few of years ago a donor gave a $25,000 gift specifically for four distinct projects. The donor was thanked properly very soon after sending the gift.
Now, fast-forward to present day. Recently the executive director is sitting down with a different donor having breakfast. The donor says to the ED, "Hey, I was just speaking with George (not real name), and he told me that a few years ago he gave you $25,000 and never heard back from you. He wants to know what happened with those projects."
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.