The Role of Money in Major-Gifts Fundraising
So, back to the question. Is it about relationship or money? It's both. And here are the operating principles:
The donor-related principle is this: If you properly serve the needs and passions of a donor and there is genuinely a match between those passions and interests and the needs of the organization, then the money follows. The lack of money is usually symptomatic of there not being a match, the donor not feeling properly cared for, or a financial circumstance that prevents the donor from giving as she did in the past or as he would like to do now. If there is not a match of donor needs to organization needs, then it is time to move on. If there is a match but the relationship is bruised because you have not properly served the donor, then you need to repair that. If there is a match but there is a mitigating financial circumstance, then you need to stick with the donor provided the criteria of the principle below is met.
The organization-related principle is this: You only have so much labor as a major-gifts officer (MGO). And stewardship requires that you use that labor wisely. The core objective of the job is to secure funds for program. Without the funds you cannot do what you are supposed to do. So stewardship and accountability require that a MGO focus on those relationships that will generate the most funds for program and have the best return on investment. I truly believe donors understand this. They do not want us spending time ($) with them when that time spent does not benefit the organization financially. This principle is what drives the rigorous review of caseloads to see that a MGO is talking to the right donor. The right donor is defined as (a) one who has capacity to give, (b) one who wants to talk to us — i.e., is qualified — and (c) one whose passions and interests match the needs of the organization.
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.