Who You Are Affects Your Donors
Who are you? Have you been asked that question?
My wife asked me that several weeks ago when I was having a meltdown on a particular subject that was especially frustrating to me. She did not recognize me in my reaction. I was not aligning to my stated beliefs and values. I was someone else.
That’s why she had to ask the question.
And just asking the question stopped me dead in my tracks as I quickly got the picture of what was really happening in my words and my behavior. I was saying things that were foreign to my deeply held beliefs and values. I was not aligned.
This subject came up in one of our Veritus Group retreats.
Jeff and I feel very strongly that we, as a team, need to be aligned to a set of values and beliefs that govern how we behave. Why? Because it affects how we behave, which, in turn, affects how we treat clients, and ultimately affects how the truth and principles of what we believe about major gifts transmits through the major gifts officer (MGO) right to the donor.
As an MGO, you are the front-line representative of your organization to the donor. This is a significant and important role—one that likely is not valued as it should be. You are the face and the spirit—the incarnation, if you will—of the cause. This is serious stuff.
This means that if you are not aligned—not only in your personal beliefs, values and behavior, but also in what you believe about the organization you serve—you can’t possibly be in an emotional, psychological or intellectual position to relate properly to a donor.
Here’s what I mean:
- If you are not authentic, you will not say what you feel, be who are, risk being wrong and relate the facts as you should.
- If you are not vulnerable, you will not admit mistakes or fear, and be able to say, “I don’t know,” or let go of looking good with the donor.
- If you are not respectful, you will not allow for differences of opinion, listen well and be able to properly relate to the pushback your donor is giving you.
There could be other characteristics or attributes you would add to this list. And if you have them, go ahead and add them. But here is my point.
If, in your relationship with your donor, you are not authentic, not vulnerable and not respectful, you are creating energy in the relationship that is negative-, self- or organization-oriented, and more focused on getting the money than serving the donor.
This is why Jeff and I continue to ask every MGO—and we continue to ask you—what do you value about each of your donors?
You know how refreshing it is to be with someone who is open, listening, caring and helpful to what you want to do and what is important to you. It is a warm, enlightening and pleasant experience. You enjoy being in the presence of that person. Time flies by and you want to repeat the encounter in the future.
This is how who you are affects your donor. When you come into a donor's presence, either on the phone, in email or in his or her home, you do so with light, openness, care, listening and an attitude of service—you bring a wonderful gift into his or her life.
And that gift that you give will result in a gift back to you.
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.