How Events Can Ruin a Major-Gifts Program
But I think they need to be more strategic.
The key objective of any event planning must be to deliver content that matches the donor's passions and interests and moves him toward the individual financial objective you have set. Note I said the individual financial objective you have set. You have to keep your eye on the individual as you enter the group dynamic.
What all of this means is that you are proactive in assuring that the program content and the ask result in a dynamic that is no different than if you had met with the major donor privately. Specifically, this means:
- You have created a program theme that matches the interests and passions of all the donors present.
- You have created an ask that is large enough to accommodate the sum of all the individual asks you would have made privately to each major donor present. It doesn't make sense to present a $100,000 need at your event when the sum of what the major donors present could give is $250,000.
- You deliver the ask in the program in a manner where point No. 2 above is clearly understood by the major donor.
In our opinion, every event should have the following three strategic objectives:
- Effectively selling qualified major donors on the event and why they should come. This means making it cause-oriented vs. event-oriented.
- Effectively selling the cause at the event. This means the theme matches the interests and passions of the donors present.
- Effectively asking. This means matching the ask amount to the sum of the capability of the major donors present and then asking in a manner that results in each major donor giving at the level he would have given had you interacted with him privately.
All of these objectives are connected and inter-related. They can't be planned for or considered separately. They are synergistically linked. If you can't deliver on these three objectives, then you shouldn't have the event.
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.