The Most Major of Major Gifts
Research shows that high-net-worth donors have come to expect greater levels of accountability, disclosure, and in-depth information about how programs and other initiatives operate.
They’ve been known to put on a hard hat and walk the grounds of new construction projects, roll up their sleeves and get involved because they have a vested interest in the success of the organization.
Stewardship, the ongoing relationship between donors and the nonprofit entities they support, is the common ground found most often when you look behind why people make the financial commitments that they do.
Implied and pre-emptive stewardship can be seen as the collection of activities that a nonprofit delivers as part of its ongoing operations. Implied stewardship is those activities that aren’t directed at any one donor in particular — publishing an annual donor report on schedule and as promised, or inviting the community to an open house to see for themselves the facilities and talk to the people who deliver programs. It’s the set of actions of accountability pushed outward to the community that makes prospective donors trust the organization enough to believe it will do what it says it will with the funds given to it.
Pre-emptive stewardship is more direct and customized to a prospective donor — someone who has been pre-qualified in the prospect-research process and is now considering a first gift.
Donors know what is going on in their communities — from their own personal experiences, their peers and neighbors, following the local news, and sometimes just walking among the goings-on at various events and happenings.
Think about the large university campaigns that have had such great success in past years and continue today. How many times have you heard about the first-time donor who made a $1 million gift? Quite often.
If you follow the notion of a Moves Management strategy, then those people who decided to step up and make a $1 million gift did so because of implied and pre-emptive stewardship efforts. People don’t often make decisions about giving away a lot of money in a vacuum. They listen, learn and then choose.
Related story: 5 Things You Can Do to Encourage Transformational Gifts