Dedicating staff time to a major gifts program is an investment of time and energy that is well worth the effort. Not only does it generate more financial investment in the good work of your nonprofit, it also provides an opportunity for your biggest fans to engage on a more meaningful basis.
The key is to use thoughtful planning to set up and grow your program. You need to provide your staff with the support and tools to be successful at it.
In a recent article by The NonProfit Times, the writer of the piece offered several important directions that point to a successful program that came out of the book, The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose by Laura Fredricks. As always, time management and thoughtful goals were part of that list but equally important, planning for the less-than-favorable outcome is a necessary conversation. By evaluating those potential problems, organizations can be prepared and focus time on building donor portfolios.
Another key strategy: always articulate how much staff are valued in their efforts. Last fall, I shared thoughts about the future of our development staff and the importance in recognizing expertise shown by these key employees. As you grow your major gifts plan, one of your biggest assets is your development employee who is managing the program.
Since changes to our tax system have been implemented, the face of major gifts is also different as more donors are setting up donor-advised funds. Many of these investment accounts established for charitable giving are often managed by community funds. There lies an opportunity to develop a new rapport with that funding arm. Donna Jackal of The Rochester Business Journal recently offered some great insights to this shift, especially with regards to the ease of setting one up.
All in all, creating an opportunity for community members to make more meaningful contributions to nonprofits still remains one of the top pursuits in growing your individual giving revenue and with it, a chance to re-frame opportunities that serve both the charity and the donor.