I think that a healthy dose of impatience lurks in the veins of most leaders. We like action and results — yesterday. Several not-for-profit leaders I have the privilege of working with carry this angst and impatience into the major gift fundraising arena. They have dreams that need funding on schedules that are important to their strategic plans.
The problem is that their major gift prospects may not be on the same schedule. They may not be close enough to the institution to make a significant investment at this time. They may have other philanthropic interests. Frankly, other organizations may have walked closer to and built stronger relationships with these donors.
Spoiler Alert: successful major gift fundraising must be donor-centric and in tune with the prospect’s hopes and dreams.
Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to interview a husband and wife team as part of a fundraising conference. This couple has made huge investments of time, talent and treasure into their local community and organizations they love and support. I always learn from these interviews.
At the end of the session we took some questions from the audience. A young staffer stood up and asked a wonderful, honest and raw question. Basically the question was, “I appreciate what you have said about taking time to understand and invest in our top donor prospects, however, my CEO says we need to open up our new addition in 12 months… so what would your advice be to me and my situation?”
Lovingly and confidently the donor couple responded, “Remember, your timeline is not our crisis.”
Ask for money and you get advice.
Ask for advice and you get money!
Fellow leaders… take the time needed for your donors to understand, embrace and support your dreams. Your timeline may not be their crisis, but your mission may be a wonderful way for them to express their own generosity and thanks for the communities and causes they love.
The month of February has been all about #donorlove on social media. Here on the DBD Blog, we’ve posted several articles on heartfelt thanks for all of those who serve our organizations. Now, as March roars in like a lion (or perhaps a polar bear), we offer some of the best of what we read this month.
Did you know that the number of family foundations has grown from 3,200 in 2001 to more than 40,000 today? These foundations not only support charities, but they are teaching future generations about philanthropy, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
In all this talk of donor stewardship, are we forgetting to show the impact of the gift while we’re saying thanks? Jay Love and the folks at Bloomerang share some startling statistics on donor retention.
Have you been spending too many lunches hunched over your computer, catching up on e-mail? The Artful Fundraiser throws down the gauntlet about making the most of each working day as a fundraiser.
Seth Godin’s recent post may, at first glance, seem to only apply to manufacturers and creators… but think about his most important question and consider what it means for your church or nonprofit.
And finally, a humorous take on keeping administrative expenses down. Remember, tights should be no more than 5% of your overall administrative costs:
Find something interesting to share with your nonprofit colleagues? Email it to us or send us a link on Twitter (@donorbydesign).