Today I want to talk about the heart of successful major gift fundraising.
It’s about reframing what you may think of as a “pitch” into what your donor would like to consider a “promise.”
The pitch is one way: You deliver a monologue about everything you know about your organization, how great it is, how pressing the need is, how you know this is what the donor cares about (maybe based on a computer print-out of the donor’s past history with your cause)… and then drop this bomb into your donor’s lap – often leaving them feeling like they didn’t get a chance to get a word in edgewise and/or they’ll be a ‘bad’ person if they don’t respond as you suggest.
The promise is two-way: Your donor promises to make a gift to accomplish something near and dear to their heart; you promise to put that gift to work effectively and report back to the donor on what their philanthropy accomplished.
The difference between these approaches is the difference between success and failure, especially over time.
For donors to give at their most passionate level, and to stick with you over time, they have to see and feel the promise. They have to believe and trust in you. They have to feel good about their giving.
If they give because they felt coerced or guilty by your perceived sales pitch, they aren’t likely to want to do this again. When you make giving transactional, you fail to build a relationship. Ultimately, these donors will evaporate.
Which brings us to the heart of effective major donor fundraising: