Where the Major Donors Are
As I heard a development officer giving his tips about major donors, I couldn’t help but think of Maurice Sendak’s classic, “Where the Wild things Are.”
In Sendak’s tale, the little boy Max is sent to bed after wreaking havoc in his house. His bedroom undergoes a transformation, however, and he sails to an island where the “wild things” are. After he has successfully intimidated these ferocious beasts, he is hailed as their king. He returns home to their dismay and becomes the little boy again—complete with warm dinner waiting.
This particular fundraiser kept referring to going “out there” to “get” a major donor. He made it sound like big-game hunting.
Principle 5 of The Eight Principles™ is Work From the Inside Out™. We build our team of supporters by beginning with those closest to us by relationship and reason to give.
More than this, “major donors” aren’t found, they’re created. Very few among us—even those very well heeled—think of ourselves as “major donors.” That’s a term fundraisers invented.
When we invest in a cause, we think of investing in the lives of other people. We give to make our communities better places.
If the organization in which we invest maintains our trust and delivers the outcomes we want, we’ll continue to give. As our trust grows, if we’re invited to invest more, we will.
That’s how “major donors” are created.
They’re never found.
Now that’s a sustainable fundraising idea.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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