When it comes to major gifts, there are effective strategies, and then there are not so effective strategies.
Speaking at the recent National Catholic Development Conference in Orlando, Fla., Sean O’Connor of Community Counseling Service offered advice on effective and ineffective strategies.
For example, sending the executive director to meet with a donor who is an active volunteer but doesn’t have a job, that’s bad. But sending the executive director to meet a donor who just took his/her company public, that’s good.
Approaching your chair’s best friend first, that would be bad. Going to the most capable and influential prospect first, that’s good. The fact is that the world of major gifts is, like everything else, changing, with:
- New wealth (hedge funds, private equity, for example)
- Communication strategies
- Generational differences
- Research opportunities and deficiencies.
O’Connor also outlined five new principles for major gifts that will emerge as key factors over time.
- A shorter case statement and material (a term sheet).
- More involvement by major donors with their gifts and with the organization.
- Pre-asks, or briefings, are becoming more common and are coming to be expected nowadays.
- Major gift teams are using goals (both financial and activity goals) as a means of measuring success.
- Volunteer solicitors are more sophisticated.