Major Gifts: The Art, the Heart, the Ask and the Attitude
Henry Rosso, a legendary modern fundraising professional, created several working philosophies from his book, “Lessons from a Master’s Lifetime Experience.”
One, people need and want to give, yet many do not know how, to whom or how much. Second, people should be able to give according to their means, their own interests and their own inclinations, without pressure. The decision should be theirs.
Finally, solicitors should always focus on the mission and not on budgeted needs of the institution. The solicitation is the simple process of taking a concern and sharing that concern with another individual.
Close your eyes and think about years ago when you were in a dressing or locker room before a big game, ready to sing in a choir performance, play in a marching band or give a speech. At that time, you were transformed and caught between being an individual (self) and being a member of the group you were representing (institution). The struggle between self and institution became blurred mostly because you wanted to perform well and promote team success as a result of your efforts.
While you’re at it, think of the institution you represent today as a fundraising professional. What are its strengths, weaknesses and purpose for existence? What service does your institution provide, and how does it fit in that context? Do your fundraising plan and individual/institutional philosophy blend well with your personal beliefs? Are you representing the institution as a sales representative, or are you fully, emotionally and passionately linked to the institution that you serve? Does the individual (you) represent the organization with passion, commitment and dedication, and are you fully convinced that investments in philanthropy are put to good use?
In short, are you fully prepared physically, mentally and emotionally to make the best personal solicitation possible?
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.