Discovering the Secret Giver
In my role as executive director of development for the Indiana Division of The Salvation Army, I have been pleasantly surprised during the past year. On three occasions, The Salvation Army received bequests totaling $500,000 from individuals who did not inform us of their intentions during life.
One individual made 27 small gifts, and the two others made fewer than five small gifts combined. While they received information through the mail, they did not personally engage with any staff member. I was extremely happy about the much-needed donations but wonder if we could have built personal relationships with these donors over time.
I truly believe in engaging prospects and donors on a personal basis whenever possible. I want individuals to have faith and trust in the organization that receives their investments. I love to educate, communicate and have donors view fundraising priorities at work. It's important that my staff has the same philosophical viewpoints that I possess. We are committed to building a long-term relationship with everyone we engage. The key is having our investors believe in the institution long-term because that transcends any specific staff or volunteer engagement. Development directors, staff and volunteers come and go, but the mission of the organization needs to always be front and center.
I constantly follow important research in development. I especially enjoyed reviewing groundbreaking research on the behavior of bequest givers in America. The Stelter Co. and Selzer & Co. combined forces by undertaking a national survey on bequest donors titled "Discovering the Secret Giver: Groundbreaking Research on the Behavior of Bequest Givers in America." Their major study of bequest giving revealed that 7 percent of Americans aged 40 and older have named nonprofits in their wills. Two out of three U.S. residents aged 40 and older already have wills.
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 email@example.com or 317-224-1029.