Major Gifts Are Transformational, not Transactional
One of Hartsook’s fundraising tenets, coined by its founder Bob Hartsook, is: “No one wants to give money away, but donors do want to make a positive difference in the lives of others or in the life of their community.” A donor’s philanthropy is not a transaction that ends with the gift. It is a transformational act that marks the beginning of an ongoing relationship.
It takes time to cultivate the donor relationship prior to soliciting a major gift, but relationship-building doesn’t end once the gift has been given. A gift should only deepen the relationship. Continued communication and appreciation are not only essential, but they open the door for future giving opportunities, including legacy gifts. Here are a few tips for cultivating donor prospects and deepening donor relationships:
Develop a donor strategy
You should have individual strategies for each prospective donor and existing major gift donor. No two people are the same, so the relationships should not be cultivated and appreciated in the same way. Create a plan based on and tailored to a particular donor’s interests and values.
It’s about the mission, not the money
If you are asking for a gift every time you meet with donors, there is a good chance they will start to feel used or, at least, disenchanted. Talk with them often about the mission – not just the money. Remind them of the impact their gifts are making. Set up personal visits with donors several times a year. These don’t need to be long visits, just meaningful ones. Ask them about their areas of interest – and then really listen.
Illustrate the impact
Donors want to see – not just hear about – the impact their gifts are making. Send them success stories that include pictures of people and projects. Invite them to tour your facility. Have clients and board members send personal, handwritten thank you notes. Be creative in demonstrating your organization’s tangible outcomes and your appreciation.
Donors don’t want to give their money away, but they do want to make a difference. Help them make that happen through strong relationships that will impact the mission now and for years to come.
Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook’s mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:
February 1, 2019
IGNITE 2019: Conference
February 4-6, 2019
The Great Fundraising Masterclass
February 7-8, 2019
LSE Annual Behavioural Public Policy Lecture
March 4-6, 2019
Think Double! Fundraising Masterclass
Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle
Keep up to date on the latest fundraising trends with the Kindle ASR Media collection:
- Reality Fundraising – Ideas, insights and lessons learned through hundreds of best practices from nonprofit professionals nationwide by Bob Hartsook
- Fundraising Leadership – The definitive source for empowering board members to become pro-active fundraising leaders by Karin L. Cox
- Getting Your Ducks in a Row – A tool box of strategies for effective campaign fundraising by Bob Hartsook
- Million Dollar Gifts – Real-life stories of million-dollar gifts that will amaze and inspire your fundraising by Bob Hartsook
- Closing that Gift – “29 secrets” to closing a gift and avoiding the top 10 solicitation mistakes by Bob Hartsook
- Performance-Driven Fundraising – Handy, yet entertaining reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers by Matthew J. Beem
- Nobody Wants to Give Money Away! – Stories, humor and more than two decades of fundraising experience in which Bob explores the nine fundraising truths essential to success by Bob Hartsook
- On The Money! – An enlightening collection of success stories and lessons learned from nonprofit fundraising campaigns nationwide by Bob Hartsook
- $231 Billion Raised and Counting – by Bob Hartsook, Matthew J. Beem, Karin Cox and over a dozen Hartsook consultants and clients. Hartsook shares stories and “Strategies for Success” that will educate and inspire
Hartsook President and CEO Matthew J. Beem’s book Performance-Driven Fundraising: Taking Control of Your Success shares decades of fundraising insights and features campaign success stories. Performance-Driven Fundraising will help accelerate anyone’s learning curve and serve as a valuable reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers. Go here for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).
On the Web
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Visit the Hartsook website for:
– Educational opportunities
– Books/reference articles
– Conference/workshop speakers
Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you’d like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].