Cover Story: Teach a Man to Fish ...
Once a person makes his first gift via the Web or other direct marketing venue, he receives the appropriate “thank you” and then goes into the system to get other contacts from Heifer — e-mails, the World Ark newsletter, etc.
If he begins to respond, the Heifer team will start to personalize contacts more heavily and eventually make invitations to events tailored to the donor’s interest — in the hopes, of course, that a major-gifts donor will be born.
Those contacts are followed up by phone by major-gifts staffers, leading up to face-to-face meetings and, they hope, a substantial contribution.
A shared belief
Folks you speak to at Heifer talk freely about the organization’s success. And while no one mentions it specifically, the staff’s enthusiasm and deep belief in its mission have to play an integral part in that success. Listen as Woodworth talks about Heifer’s unique program:
“When a family accepts an animal, they then are obligated to pass on the first female offspring to someone else in the community. I was on a farm, and a family had just completed the pass-on requirement. It hit me that this man who doesn’t have much spent a year raising this cow, feeding it, keeping it healthy before it could be passed on. In some ways, that cow was 30 [percent] to 50 percent of his total wealth in the world. How many of us give away half of our wealth?
“I keep a picture of this man and his son with the cow in my office, and when I find myself in back-to-back meetings, talking about numbers, who visited, their reactions, etc., I see this man and his son and I remember this is why we’re doing all this.
“I’ve never seen people so happy to sign a contract. It’s amazing that even though people agree to pass on one animal, very often they’ll pass on two or three because it makes them feel good. They’ve never had an opportunity to give before; they’re discovering what a joyous experience it is to give. It’s a powerful thing to help people make that first gift.”