There are three big myths in major gift fundraising that we’ve uncovered in our work with hundreds of ministries across the country. Because we care about the work God is doing through you, I’d like to share these myths with you and along the way, point you toward success with major gifts.
Myth #1: It’s All About Asking For Money.
The truth is, major donor engagement revolves around relationship building much more than the actual moment when you ask for a gift. In fact, focusing on the ask ensures a shortcut to disaster. On the other hand, focusing on the donor and relationship-building is the only path to success.
Look it at this way, do you want someone showing up at your home or office asking you for money? Who in their right mind would want that? But what if someone approached you to ask for your opinion on a cause very near to your heart? And, what if they came with fresh news about how a gift you had made in the past really made a difference?
What if the basis of the meeting was simply to connect and let you share the things that God is teaching you about giving? Most of us would and do take meetings like that because we don’t mind talking about what interests us—and we feel valued for more than just how much we can give.
That’s the key to major gifts. Focusing first on the relationship, and good stewardship of it. Then allowing God to work in that relationship to warm hearts to a first time gift or giving at a higher level. Prayer, openness and general pastoral concern have to come first. The asking won’t quite take care of itself, but it is amazing how God works when you put His love for people first.
Myth #2: It’s All About Me.
You don’t have to be a show boat or a top sales person to succeed in major gifts. That’s because the spotlight shouldn’t be on you or even your organization. Instead, focus on the donor and how God has wired his or her heart for your cause.
Many introverts excel in major gift stewardship. That is because they are good planners and strategists. But also because they can apply the golden rule. They treat the many introverted donors the way that they would want to be treated.
At Advocace, we coach major gift officers to be themselves. Through our Ask Naturally™ training, we can give you the tools and key insights you will need to feel comfortable dialoguing with major donors—which is the key to forging lasting relationships. Knowing what to ask and how to engage donors around their passion is the “insider secret” to major gifts.
Myth #3: It’s All About Starting At The Top.
You may not be ready to sit down with your top donor or anyone giving at the six-figure level. And in fact, many times the top level isn’t the place to start. That’s because more money is raised from major donors who give $1,000 to $5,000 per year for small and medium sized ministries than any other giving level.
Try heavily engaging this $1,000-5,000 level set of donors through personal cultivation activities like:
· One-On-One Meetings
· Group Cultivation Events
· Handwritten Notes
· Personal Thank You Calls
· Other Warm, Friendly Connections
Focusing on this donor level will often yield more results than chasing that one multi-millionaire in your town that has every non-profit dogging his or her steps.
Maybe it’s time to get real or get started with a major gifts program at your ministry. That’s where I’d like to offer to help…for free. I’d like to offer a free consultation to you because I believe God’s work is worth it. Take me up on it by calling (972) 304-1100 or request your consultation online.