Why Major Gifts Officers Should Ask Again
Your major donor has given in the last month or so, and you now are turning your attention to the donors on your caseload who have not given so far this calendar year.
This is good.
But you may be missing an opportunity to bring additional joy into that recent-giver’s life. You may be missing an opportunity to ask again.
“What?” you say. “Ask again? I can’t do that! It would not be right.”
Well, let me present a different point of view.
While it may be true that the last gift your donor gave is the only one he or she either can give or wants to give—it also is true that if the donor is 1) able to give more, and 2) had an outstanding recent experience with you, another gift is not out of the question.
Let’s examine those two points:
- The donor is able to give more. If you have followed our advice, you have done a great deal of research on your caseload donors. And if you have done that research, you know the giving patterns and capacity of your donor. You know if he or she is able to give more. While it is true you may not know how much he or she has given to others, you do know your donor’s general ability to give. If you do not know this information, some good research right now is in order.
- The experience the donor just had with you was outstanding. Have you ever had an experience where you were asked to do something that you were so sure you would not do, but then you did it and the experience was so overwhelmingly satisfying that when you were asked to do it again, you did? Has that happened to you? It has to me. I have been in a situation where I was asked to give to something that matched my interests and passions; where I initially stalled and wondered if I could or even wanted to give; where the situation presented to me was so compelling that I just had to give. I had to. Then, all the information and input sent to me after I gave was, again, so compelling—so rewarding—that when I was asked to help again, I did. Here’s my question: Are you giving your major donors that kind of experience after they give? If you are, they very well could be ready to give again.
Remember, this giving thing is not about the money.
We keep saying that, but I am not sure it is sinking in. Think about it. If it is not about the money, then the transaction frequency is about the satisfaction around the past and last transaction. If something magical, rewarding and uplifting happened, then making that happen again very well could be a desired and attractive experience.
I remember a story of a wealthy donor who was just not giving. He was on the caseload of a major gifts officer (MGO), and no matter what that MGO did, it did not work. Then the MGO discovered that he was presenting information and giving opportunities to the donor that did not match the donor’s passions and interests. So he changed that.
Bingo! Things started to change. As the donor got closer and closer to all the things that were satisfying about giving to the areas that interested him, the more energy he got and the more he gave.
Clue: Giving goes up because transaction satisfiers go up.
So, take notice here. The giving did not go up because the MGO did a better job of asking. Nor did the MGO do a better job of asking for more. Nope.
The giving went up because the MGO did a better job of matching the donor’s interests and passions to the needs of the people/cause the organization was serving. And then, after finding the right match, the MGO made the giving experience rewarding and fulfilling by giving the donor a ton of “you made a difference” information—information so compelling and so satisfying that the donor wanted to give again.
See how this works?
Here’s how you need to put this dynamic to work.
If you have a donor who has the ability and whose experience with you has been satisfying, ask them again for a gift. Do it boldly to meet the needs of the people or cause you are serving. And promise the donor that the experience will be just as good, if not better, than the last time he or she gave.
Remember, this has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do helping the donor find a way to do even more good this year and feel good about doing it.
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.