How Care and Nurture Turned Into a Big Gift
The very best giving year for this donor was $16,250, but that number had fluctuated to $2,000 one year and $6,000 another.
And then the donor passed away and left $919,000 to the organization!
I love this story because it is a perfect example of two major gift principles I am continually trying to emphasize.
1. A Major Donor May Be Hidden From You
No matter how much research you do and how many questions you ask you may not immediately discern the capacity of a donor. In this case, it was hidden. The donor gave enough to qualify for caseload status but the major gifts officer was not aware of the potential.
2. Relationship Matters
I routinely talk and write about how relationships drive giving and that the focus of a major gifts officer needs to be on serving the donor’s passions and interests versus grabbing the money. I personally know the organization where this major gifts officer and donor reside. And one thing I know about them is that they are very relationally oriented. The organization truly cares about and nurtures their donors. Long before the organization assigned this donor to this major gifts officer’s caseload there was a lot of good happening between the organization and this donor.
You must remember these two principles as you do your work with your caseload donors. You will be tempted to figure out ways to just get the money — it happens to all of us. But I ask you to ignore that temptation and instead spend your energy and creativity on finding new ways to be thoughtful, nurturing and caring with each donor on your caseload.
It is difficult to do. I know this because the stress and demands of the day are on you. But stop and think about how you can pour yourself into these precious people’s lives and help them fulfill their interests and passions. If you can do this successfully, which we know you can, it will pay off economically in surprising ways.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.