Get a Big Fundraising Vision
I’ve been doing a lot of major gift data assessments lately, and there is one theme that is consistent in all of the data I’ve been reviewing from organizations like yours. It’s: You have so much more potential!
My guess is that it’s the same with your major gift program.
The problem is that very few leaders are thinking big. They have very little vision for growth. There is too much fear and trepidation to envision big ideas and implement them.
I’m reviewing major donor files that, for years, have seen little growth. I mean, for the last 10 years, I’m seeing only 2% to 3% growth per year. That’s barely keeping up with inflation.
And don’t get me started on what we’re seeing in donor and donor value attrition. Terrible. Big donors are disappearing faster than you can blink. Why? No fundraising vision.
In one major gift file I’ve been working on, this particular organization’s major gift team has been bringing in about $1.5 million each year for about a decade. Just year after year of virtually no growth. Yet if this nonprofit really focused on it and had a fundraising vision, it could soar.
I put together a very conservative estimate that in five years the organization would have enough donor assets to achieve more than $9 million in major gift revenue. And believe me, that is not some pie-in-the-sky number.
What has been holding this nonprofit back is that its leadership doesn’t have a vision for building major gifts — or, for that matter — the entire organization. The nonprofit is not asking the major gift team to do anything more than what it did the previous year.
You know, if there is no vision for revenue growth at your nonprofit, there will be no growth.
Richard and I just don’t get it. There are just too many problems and too much suffering in this world for nonprofit leaders not to think big. There is an infectious malaise in our industry of protecting ourselves, out of a fear of failure.
Leaders are afraid to do something big because that requires a change. And, in some cases, it requires big change. But what do you have to lose?
I keep thinking about that organization that has the ability to go from $1.5 million to $9 million in five years. So much good can be done with that additional funding to change the world. And so much joy could be provided to their donors who would be giving those additional gifts.
You see, this lack of a fundraising vision not only hurts the mission of the organization; it also holds back its donors’ desire to change the world.
Grab hold of a big fundraising vision. What would you do with double or triple the amount of revenue? What would you need to do to make that happen?
Create change that fosters relationships with donors in your organization. Then ask those donors to help you build a great fundraising vision. You will grow in unprecedented ways. What’s holding you back?
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.