NEW Planning for Every Aspect of Your Donor Experience (Clone)

Donors, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

For a donor, the decision to give their largest gift is not one taken lightly, and there are specific phases to making the decision to give. We often see organizations move too quickly from introducing themselves directly to the “ask” without a carefully thought-out plan, which can often come off too strong too soon. In order to lead a donor towards making the decision to culminate a major gift, you need to prepare for each aspect of the donor experience. We recommend you use these five steps when designing your solicitations:


The first phase is simple,  giving your donor your information about your organization. Tell your donor all about who you are, your mission, your impact, etc. When creating your donor experience, this phase may happen organically or deliberately. Identify key characters in your story, and the settings where they learn about your organization.


The next phase deals more with the “heart” side of things. After giving your donor information about your organization, it’s critical to form a strong bond between them and your mission. What are their passions and how does your mission align with those passions? This is when your organization’s work becomes deeply personal, and you demonstrate your organization’s impact on people.     


Now, it’s time to inspire. You are introducing your donor to “what could be.” What challenge are you wanting to overcome? What opportunity are you wanting to seize? This piece of the story is the one most overlooked when developing a donor experience, but it is often the most important. All donors want to solve a problem, and inspiration is what will move a donor from a transactional to a transformational gift.             


Finally, the ask! This is the part of the story where the donor becomes the hero – the missing link to your success. When determining the right time to ask, make sure you are confident in the relationship, trusted and liked by the donor, and certain the proposal is understood.


It is important to think about how you will honor your donor before the ask. Beyond thanking them for their generosity, you will want to show the donor the impact of their gift on the people you serve. This will reiterate how they have made a quality decision and improve their likelihood of donating again in the future.

Following these five steps to crafting a donor experience will help lead your donor to a quality decision to give. When you take a donor-centric approach, you are on the right path to building long-lasting relationships with your donors that will help transform the mission of your organization.

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NEW Donor Fatigue – Fact or Fiction? (Clone)

Fundraising, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Sheri Hodde

Most of us in the field of development are familiar with the term "donor fatigue." We would define donor fatigue as what happens when you go to the same well too many times for financial support. The moment where a donor sits back and thinks, “Really? Am I the only one who gives to this mission?”

So, let’s start with the truth. Yes, it is true that most nonprofits go to the same donors too many times each year. Throughout our work we’ve discovered that the majority of our non-profits ask their core donor base for money between 12 and 18 times a year on average, not to mention that donors give to multiple missions annually. With these statistics, it’s easy to see how these donors could quickly become fatigued.

Marketing professionals will tell you that the more you ask, the more donors will give. Well we say, BALONEY! Just because you can ask more often and get a little more, doesn’t mean you should! Take a real life example, if one day you were to ask your good friend for $50, they would give it to you without hesitation. If you asked again the next day, they would likely give it to you again. If you asked a third day, your friend would likely ask you what is going on, and then give it to you again. Although you’re getting the money each time, you are stressing and damaging your relationship with your friend along the way.

News flash: development really is about relationships! More specifically, balanced relationships. Donors should receive something they personally value in return for their generosity. Fatigue comes from donors who are unfulfilled in their giving and whose relationships are out of balance with the nonprofits they support.

  • Remember that you are establishing and deepening relationships with real people. 
  • Try to step into your donors' shoes and gather a sense for how they experience your organization. 
  • Interact with your donor a few times annually without asking for money -  don’t treat them as a checkbook.
  •  Help your donors feel fulfilled in their giving, tell them about the impact their gift has had on your organization!

We believe if you try the suggestions above, you will see some exciting results. And donor fatigue? It will be replaced with donor passion.

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So, what is a major gift, anyway?

Fundraising, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

This is a seemingly innocent question that elicits responses all over the charts. Nearly every nonprofit uses the term ‘major gift’ and has a quick definition of its meaning, but no two definitions are the same.

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Apples or Oranges

Fundraising, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

Depositphotos_2556223_l-2015All too often, the term "major gifts fundraising" is misused, misrepresented, and misunderstood. Nearly every nonprofit professes to do some version of major gifts fundraising, and all consulting firms claim to be major gift experts. However, I believe that few nonprofit organizations have a true major gifts program and even fewer consulting firms grasp the philosophy behind a quality relationship-based funding strategy. In fact, major gifts fundraising often becomes a game of confusing oranges for apples.

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Managing a Major Gifts Portfolio: It’s About People, Not Process!

Donors, | Fundraising, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Sheri Hodde

The very term "major gifts" is intimidating to many. What does it mean? Who are these so-called major donors? These are the questions asked every day by organizations that haven't yet ventured into a relational model of fundraising.

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The Curse of the Mega-Gift

Fundraising, | Major gifts, | Stewardship | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

We have all daydreamed of an angel-donor who appears out of nowhere and drops in our laps a massive amount of money for our mission. Think of the immediate financial problems it would solve: It would completely take away the stress associated with managing monthly cash flow. It could also make those grandiose dreams of expansion an immediate reality. But is there a downside? In short, yes – if not managed properly, a mega-gift can often create more harm than good, and can sometimes lead to the demise of a nonprofit organization.

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Our Greatest Responsibility

Board, | Fundraising, | Major gifts, | Nonprofit, | Stewardship | 0 Comments | by Sheri Hodde

There are a lot of resources on the topic of stewardship and accountability in the development office, and most of them are helpful for development professionals as they strive to be responsible. However, the problem with most of the material on this topic is that it only applies to relationships with donors. As development professionals, you are also faced with other relationships that demand your stewardship and accountability – and those relationships are your greatest responsibility.

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