Getting to the Heart of Major-Gifts Giving
3. Giving transforms lives. Unfortunately, many fundraisers seem to think asking for money is beneath them. Many just plain don’t like to ask. And these feelings are understandable. It’s not easy to talk about money. It feels embarrassing. It doesn’t seem right.
But people need to give. And the more they give, the better. Why? Because giving transforms their lives, and it transforms the lives of others.
If you’re asking honestly and using funds wisely, you have nothing to apologize for as a fundraiser. Indeed, it’s your duty to ask for their support — clearly, openly and without apology — not only for the sake of your organization’s needs, but also for the sake of your donors.
The heart of fundraising
So if fundraising isn’t all about the money, what is it all about? Quite simply, it’s one of the deepest, most powerful, long-lasting ways human beings can express love and transfer real values from one to another. As a fundraiser, if you forget that, you’re lost. But even if you are able to keep that truth in your back pocket throughout your fundraising career, you still need incredible passion to keep making the point beautifully clear to anyone who needs to hear it.
Here’s a story from Jeff that gets to the heart of the matter:
“I started my first job in fundraising 23 years ago, working for a small nonprofit on the third floor of a dilapidated building in Philadelphia. We were so small that not only did I write the appeal letters, but I also folded them, put them in envelopes, licked the stamps and took them down to the post office. The part of that job I still miss today is opening the returns. Because it allowed me to see and actually touch a tangible expression of a donor’s gratitude.”
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.