Caring for the donor is the best way to care for the organization. Do not let unrealistic expectations get you off that basic truth.
I’m often asked for a formula for adding major gift officers. There are many variables, but they boil down to these four points.
One tiny report makes a tremendous amount of difference. Because it closes the giving loop. Read these stories to see the impact.
One problem in major gifts is the lack of emotional intelligence. It’s not about the money or strategy.
The good part about an annual society or membership fee is that it is repeated, so there is donor and value retention. The bad part about it is that the donor is not asked to increase giving or give again in the same year. We have trained the donor to give your society or membership gift and you have done all that is needed this year.
There’s a funny thing about promises or commitments. They are so easy to make and, many times, so difficult to deliver.
Why is it we keep looking for some new way to do something when we know the exact steps it takes to get it done? Because the new thing feels so much better. And it looks so good and is easier. You just have to listen to it all, feel good and apply what you can. And, certainly, since it feels so good, it must work.
The development function of many nonprofits has been lacking for some time, and there are two reasons why. Richard Perry offers advice.
“True connection is a frightening prospect,” Seth Godin explained in his blog. “... Far easier, of course, to do something more shallow.”
Most often, I work with enlightened progressive and donor-centered leaders. And then, occasionally, one shows up that just takes my breath away. That was my experience when I met with one CEO who needed help with his major gift program — at least that is what I thought.
There is not a limit to how many times you should tell a donor they are making a difference. You could do it every week. But then the question is how do you make the story different and unique?
A CEO listed 60 to 100 people she knew who either had given some financial support already or could give if asked. The very funds this good CEO needs are right in front of her. But she cannot, no matter how hard she tries, reach out and access them because she actually thinks that it will offend the donor.
A major gift caseload is not just a bunch of donors who meet a certain giving or capacity criteria. Current giving and capacity play into the selection of a caseload pool. From this pool, you should qualify the donors who want to connect. Your caseload will have donors of different economic quality, which is why you should tier your caseload so you know where to spend your time.
“We need more money. That’s why we’re starting a major gifts program.” This is how many leaders think the economy of a major gifts program works. They decide to do it and — bam! — the money starts to flow in immediately. These leaders need a dose of economic reality as it relates to major gifts.
Stop for a moment, and have a heart and behavior check. Are you really focused enough on the donor and what they need? Do you express gratitude at the level and frequency you need to?