When we hire a fundraiser we are responsible for choosing the person who will succeed for us. We can’t afford to benchmark against the candidates who turn up for interview, we must know the benchmarks already so that we know what success looks like before it walks through the door and introduces itself.
Say thank you. Regardless of what the donor says. And listen hard for what the donor means when they say “no need to thank me” in case they mean “don’t make a fuss” or “don’t tell people” but would love for you to say thank you!
Big Gift, Major Gift, Major Donor – call it what you will – Fundraising isn’t defined by a set gift amount. It is defined by its approach – taking the time to develop a relationship with a person over time in order to ask for a commitment.
It is less risky to ask for a gift when you know the person is likely to say yes. Learning how to read the signs of another person’s likelihood to give is sometimes tricky and sometimes really obvious. But fundamentally it is the asking that is the secret: if you don’t ask you definitely won’t get!
Even a tiny charity can build a major donor programme. Because a major donor programme can start with a single donor, it doesn’t have to start with a big database, a big spreadsheet and an investment in staff and resources that won’t pay off for two years or more.
The secret is knowing your capacity to delight and then delighting that donor or those few donors you can manage well.