Too often, we spend all of our time letting others know what our institution wants from them. It’s a ‘gimme gimme gimme’ attitude and it doesn’t optimize the relationship with our donors, especially leadership annual fund, major gift and planned giving donors. Maybe it’s time we listened a bit more.
The most successful philanthropic relationships occur when the donor and the organization are in sync. When the donor’s aspirations can be fulfilled by making a gift to your organization, the resulting gift is good for everyone.
Both parties in any transaction have interests. The institution wants funding for something of value to them. Let’s not forget, the donor has interests too – and they’re holding the checkbook.
The donor is trying to utilize their financial resources to make a difference in some way that is meaningful to them. The best situation for everyone is when the interests of both parties overlaps. A lot. The closer the organization comes to meeting the donors’ desires, the more likely they are to receive a gift. As the overlap increases, so does the size of the gift. And, if all goes well, it might be the first of many.
Rather than spending so much time ‘selling’ our ideas to donors, it makes sense to stay quiet and listen a bit more than we talk. Once you learn more about what the donor is trying to achieve, you might be able to match their interests with yours. And that’s when the magic happens.