The biggest challenge I see with prospects and new clients is this:
Most are UNCOMFORTABLE with asking for major gifts. . .
The success of their entire fundraising activities rests on MAJOR GIFTS.
Annual funds, monthly donors and events are very important, yet they are tied very closely to the major gift strategy. Often times our major donors are cultivated from the annual fund. Some major donors will increase their giving levels by becoming a monthly donor. Don’t underestimate the obsession with bonus points on credit card donations. We all like “bonuses,” regardless of our financial circumstances. Events are where we find major donors. It’s the meeting AFTER the event that continues the story that was started at the event.
So, when I hear development teams tell me that the MAJOR GIFT portion of their strategy is the least executed, I am not surprised. Just this week I spoke with two prospects that admitted they were uncomfortable with the “big ask.” One had an operating budget of under $500,000. The other total budget was over $50 million.
Two different reasons were given:
- “I feel intimidated with these rich prospects. I get nervous. So, I focus on events.”
- “We lay out our mission and they ‘should want to give’. I hate to beg. But they’re not giving.”
I can tell you that you may never feel COMFORTABLE with asking for gifts from major donors, but you can start today with a different “story for yourself.” We help our clients overcome this fear by changing the story they tell themselves. But you can start TODAY being comfortable with being UNCOMFORTABLE. Your success depends on it.
Who will you get “uncomfortable” with today?
John J. Corcoran
President & CEO