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).
Usually when I speak of legacy I’m thinking about a nice sum of money left to a worthy non-profit by a wealthy donor. Bequests, charitable remainder trusts, annuities, lead trusts and all sort of other strategies come to mind. It is so great to hear stories about some of these generous gifts and I’m always awed by the love the donor felt for the charity and their desire to leave one final parting gift. A legacy.
But there are other kinds of legacies and you don’t have to be well-heeled to leave one. Let me explain with a personal story.
My mother-in-law passed away earlier this month at the age of 93. She left behind two daughters and six grandchildren. But she left a lot more. She left a legacy of love and generosity.
I know that as long as I live I’ll be thankful for her gracious love and generous heart. I know that mother-in-laws are portrayed as being the thorn in many a daughter or son-in-law’s side but that wasn’t my experience. My mother-in-law was kind and generous. My daughters benefited from her love and frequent visits to our home as they were growing up.
I wish I had just one more chance to thank her for her generous love and care for my family but I can’t. That opportunity died when she did. But, I can determine now to be loving, caring, and kind with the people I encounter, and I can leave a legacy of gratitude for the acts of love and compassion shown to me.
Life is short but a legacy of love and gratitude lives on for decades or longer. It can be repeated in our descendant’s lives and replicated in their great-great grandchildren. Don’t wait to say thank you and don’t wait to be generous.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”