10 Reasons Why Most Major-Gift Programs (Stink)! — Nos. 8-10
Believe me, when nonprofit, MGOs or executive directors start to focus on the money rather than the donor, for whatever reason … they lose. Why? Because major donors are real people like you and me. They just have more money than most of us. They have the same fears, concerns and trust issues as we do. Just like you, if they detect that you only want money from them, your ability to form a trusting, long-lasting relationship will be compromised.
Think about it in your own personal life. You know when someone really seeks an honest relationship versus just wanting something from you. The latter doesn't feel good, does it? You might provide the "thing" they are wanting, but you don't like it.
Now, you might actually get the "gift" from the donor when you chase the money, but the long-term relationship becomes damaged and, more often than not, the donor goes away and becomes another attrition statistic.
I know what it's like to have a goal and sense that you're not going to make that goal. It's not a good feeling. It keeps you up at night, and those snakes and vipers in your head tell you that you're a failure. However, with a well-run major-gift program, where all players — the board, ED and major-gift officer — are working together this can be avoided.
All this major-gift stuff is about building and maintaining strong relationships with people. If that is the objective and you do that extremely well, the money will follow you. But, if you get tempted to go after the money without understanding the complexities and subtleties of the relationship, you have a real possibility of losing it.
Hey, I've made this mistake myself. (I'll tell you about my story in the posts to come.) The only reason I can tell you the truth of this is because I've blown this rule big time! Thankfully, I've made it through in order to warn others.
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.