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if you ignore your teeth… …they will go away!

What a great billboard ad campaign! And I still remember it from almost 30 years ago. No one would dispute this fact, yet only 65% of Americans go to the dentist.

Isn’t it the same with our major donors? If we ignore them, they will go away. Probably not from giving, but rather just from NOT GIVING to us.

Major donors have their own definition of “ignore” and “being paid attention to.”  IF we listen, they will let us know through our relationship what their definition is. We may think one thing, they think another. They are always right in their definition.

However, in general, when we are truly interested in the major donor as a whole person, they will never feel ignored. They can be sensitive to being “paid attention to” for the purpose of simply getting a gift. They know the difference between a genuine approach and one that is calculated.

One tip for helping a major gift donor to see you as REAL is to ask questions about their life outside your organization:

“How was the graduation last week?”

“I heard that you were away last week, tell me about your trip.”

Another way is to contact them OUTSIDE the “donation cycle”:

“I was wondering if we can grab coffee next week and you can finish telling me about……”  (this will be apparent to your donor that there is no hidden agenda).

This may seem obvious, but so is going to the dentist! Don’t take your major donors for granted.





Written by: John J. Corcoran

President & CEO

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