I know of a donor who, in his very best year of giving to an organization we work with, gave $17,000. This donor’s giving, however, had fluctuated between $3,000 and $5,000 most of the time he was involved with this particular organization.
And then, just like that, the donor passed away and left $900,000 from his IRA!!
This is a perfect example of major gift principles working to a nonprofit’s benefit. I love sharing it whenever I can:
Sometimes major donors are hiding in plain sight. No matter how much research you’ve done and how many questions you ask, it may not be possible to easily figure out a donor’s capacity to give. In the above case, the donor gave just enough to be considered a for major gift giving potential, but his true capacity was not evident.
Relationships really do make a difference. It’s relationships that motivate giving, right? Doesn’t it then make sense that MGOs need to spend time figuring out how to tap into what the donor is interested in giving to within your mission rather than just trying to go for the quick fix of grabbing for some money now instead of more down the line? The successful MGOs I’ve known during my 25 year fundraising career have been relationship oriented. That’s been the constant. They care about their donors.
The MGO credited with bringing in that $900,000 had to have been nurturing the relationship for some time.
Remember: you’re always going to be tempted to find shortcuts to get the money now. Be strong. Don’t take the bait. Spend your energy and creativity on new ways to be thoughtful and caring with each of the donors in your file.