I’m ighted to announce… I’m taking on a new role as FUNDRAISING COACH for Bloomerang! You may be aware I’ve been providing advice and guidance to their blog and webinar series for the past 18 months. Now I’m assuming a formal, expanded role — and couldn’t be ighted to have this opportunity to…Details
If I had to tell you what you need to do to succeed with major gift fundraising in one sentence it would be this:
Identify major donor prospects… qualify them so you know they want to build a deeper relationship with you… cultivate them… visit with them… listen to them… reflect back to them what you heard… ask them for something specific that resonates with their passions… steward their gift and communicate in an ongoing way to make them feel like the hero they are!
Whew – that was a mouthful!
A shorter way to say this is: Meet with donors. Listen to donors. Ask donors.
See — it’s simple!
It’s definitely not rocket science. It’s just good old hard work. Satisfying and rewarding work. And it’s a type of work anyone can learn to do. [If you want to learn, please sign up for the next Certification Course for Major Gifts Fundraisers e-course . It may be the most important investment you make all year. Just one major gift will more than cover the cost].
Over my 37 years in fundraising, 30 of them working in the trenches as a director of development for organizations with budgets ranging from $1 – $40 million, I have asked for a lot of major gifts. I know what works, and what doesn’t work. Today I want to give you:
(1) some of my best words of wisdom, and also
(2) answers to some of the questions folks frequently ask me .
I hope these tips will help you tweak your mindset and invigorate your systems so you can be more successful fundraising in the coming year!Details
How Do Major Donors Think About Philanthropy?
To a large extent, they think about it the same way as anyone else. They just have more money.
It’s good to remember that major donors are, first and foremost, just people.
And like all human beings, they are on a continual quest for meaning. It’s the existential search to be all that one can be. To feel self-actualized.
And you can help them!
In fact, this is your job. This is part and parcel of your organization’s mission.
You (as executive management, development staff or board member) are a facilitator of philanthropy. Your organization exists, in part, to facilitate your donor’s quest for meaning and teach the joy of giving. To do this effectively, you must be attuned to your donors. And, since the wealthy have the ability to make a larger impact when it comes to furthering your mission, you especially must be attuned to these folks.
In the past I’ve looked at five major donor philanthropic triggers. You need to know about these things, because if you can key into any of them you’ll have a strong basis for pursuing a major gift from the prospect whom you’re approaching:
- They feel economically secure.
- They are in a reflective phase of life.
- They’ve demonstrated a desire to build a closer connection with your cause and community.
- They are looking for meaning and a sense of purpose.
- They are seeking to identify themselves as the person they want to see reflected in the mirror.
Today I’d like to review six more things you should be on the lookout for; then I’ll suggest four strategies to help you enter into your prospective donors’ worlds so you can make a win/win match – one that will help your major donors simultaneously help your cause and themselves.
Coincidentally, I found a back issue of Lifestyles Magazine from 2008 (yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder) and was struck by some of what the publication had to say—a veritable peek inside the minds of major donors. There’s a clue right in the way Lifestyles (now out of publication) describes their mission (highlights are mine):Details