Who Talks to Your Donors

I have seen major gifts fundraising done in two significantly different ways. One involves an active fundraising board who participates in all the major gifts solicitations for the organization. The other involves staff cultivating and growing these relationships themselves. Each of these two models focus on a different component of the traditional linkage, ability, interest concept I mentioned earlier this week.

Using your board to fundraise leans heavily on linkage as the major tool for fundraising. As community and business leaders, board members are a great connection to the community and to new donors. Board members can speak as peers with donors urging them to give at a similar level, as board members are often already major donors themselves. This method of major gifts fundraising focuses on the relationships board members have with the community as the primary way of soliciting gifts.

Other organizations do the majority of their major gifts fundraising through giving officers. These staff members are assigned a portfolio of donors with whom they grow and establish a relationship. This kind of fundraising focuses more on the interest and ability continuum of fundraising. Major Gift Officers use events and 1-on-1 interactions with these individuals to further connect them to the organization. Giving focuses on areas of interest within the organization as the primary way to sustain and grow financial support.

How does your organization operate? Do you primarily use board members or staff? Or, do you mix it up a little bit and use both?


5 Responses to Who Talks to Your Donors

  1. Robert Nelson says:

    I have worked both ways but I think the combination is best.
    Use staff to do the research and the volunteers to make the appointment. Mix it up!
    I think the MGO should be the one to ask for the gift in bothe scenarios. The main reason is that sometimes the peer-to-peer relationship can be too close and based on too many unrelated things– ie “you give to my project and I will give to yours” shame and back em into a wall with an either “give or “no give” type ask rather than to make the donor feel good about their commitment. Not to mention the fact that volunteers will never ask for the evaluated amount–either too much or too little.

    Best of both worlds is for the MGO and the volunteer to make the ask together.

  2. […] url: "http://www.asmallchange.net/question-who-asks-for-money/" }); // In a recent post, Who Talks to Your Donors, I mentioned two different styles of fundraising. One style involves board members soliciting […]

  3. Sandy says:

    I work for a very small organization (just me and a part time artistic director). I would love to have board support so I am not the only one asking. It’s more of a practical question for me.

  4. Jason says:

    Great thoughts. I’ve included some additional comments here:

  5. […] that is more involved in the strategy of the organization (as we’ve talked about in another post, Who Talks to Your Donors). Some boards meet monthly, others […]

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