Focus On: Major Gifts: Take A Lesson from the Old School
Ask for help
Don’t forget to enlist help in this effort; continuous cultivation also should be job No. 1 for the president, the board chairman and even the program directors. This is serious business. In these difficult times, key programs or even your organization’s entire mission could be at stake. Make sure everyone is on board.
Remember the importance of thanking your donors repeatedly. Even if they’re finding it difficult to be philanthropic in this economy, let them know you haven’t forgotten their previous support. When the tide turns, they’ll remember how much they were appreciated even when times were lean.
It’s a fact of fundraising life that people give to people; everyone knows that maxim. But it could be amended to say that people give to people who understand them, who care about them, who respect them and who reward them. If major donors are responsible for funding your organization’s mission, they deserve all that … and more.
But I don’t feel so good …
A young staffer went out to interview a donor for an important feasibility study. Before even leaving on the trip, he learned one of the first rules: Even though he was suffering from a bad cold, the work had to be done. So, he flew to the donor’s city, rented a car and proceeded to the home of the donor, who clearly had forgotten about the interview and wasn’t there.
When the donor finally arrived, he was quite apologetic — and was clearly impressed that the young man took the cause so seriously that he’d waited several hours in his car. Not only did the donor complete the interview that day, he made a financial commitment, one that was well above what the organization had hoped for.
No one is suggesting that sick staffers should drag their germs into the office and take down their whole team, but one secret of successful fundraisers is the passion behind their work.