7 tips from a grant-maker

Asking what donors want when they consider or actually make a donation can be a lesson in futility, because “donors” means most of humanity, people with varying concerns, desires and interests.

Still, it can be helpful to get an insight into donor thinking.

In her book “Every Gift Matters,” Carrie Morgridge, vice president of the Morgridge Family Foundation, wrote about the things she is looking for when she considers making a gift.

  • An atmosphere of trust and understanding. The most successful philanthropic relationships are the ones built on respect, personal friendships and mutual trust.
  • Shared goals and values. The Morgridge Foundation saw this in Book Trust — providing access to books to as many students as possible and invested in it.
  • Immediate impact. This means minimal process and bureaucracy, benefit coming right away.
  • Leverage. This means looking to multiply buying power whenever possible.
  • Ripple effect. Book Trust students shared their new knowledge with their families.
  • Small gifts, big result. While major gifts and foundation grants are important, many gifts of small amounts also add up to support a cause or organization.
  • Compounded giving. Over time, modest gifts wisely invested can grow in amazing ways. When a nonprofit is smart about spending it is likely to attract a larger gift.