Every Donor Is Important and Every Gift Can Be Transformational
Fundraising — for better or worse — is a numbers game. And an overwhelming majority of the time, large gifts in a campaign make or break your success. They are essential.
But I still find every gift, every donor and every encounter special. Even inspiring. No matter how large or small.
I will never forget the experience. I was a college student interning in a congressional office in Washington, D.C.. It was an exciting time, and just being around power — even at the lowest level — could be addictive and exhilarating.
One Sunday, I was attending a beautiful, Gothic church near Capitol Hill. It was nearly empty — or it seemed because there were only a few dozen people in a church that must have held 1,000 or more. I was asked to help take up the collection. And I agreed.
As I made my way toward the back of the church, pew by pew, I had passed everyone — except a homeless man in the back pew. I passed by, really not wanting to embarrass him. I was brought nearly to tears when I heard a shuffling of feet. I turned back and saw the homeless man walk toward me. He stopped, smiled and dropped some coins in the basket. Then he returned to his spot in the back pew.
I have no doubt that he was the most generous donor that day. I still recall that Sunday like it was this past week.
In the fundraising business, we meet some spectacular donors and leaders who are blessed with great resources that they want to share. Never forget that every gift is important.
Every year we are all inspired with many stories of smaller donors — even sporadic donors — making an ultimate gift to an organization in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Quiet wealth. Someone who wanted to make a difference.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.