Let Go of the Money to Hold Onto Your Donors


We’re in the midst of some volatile times in the fundraising and nonprofit world.

But, you know what? Challenges may be plentiful, but so are opportunities!

We just finished an inspiring and hopeful roundtable discussion – Navigating the “Big Ask” in Challenging Times. Gail Perry was joined by the brilliant Beth Ann Locke, Kathryn Gamble, and Eli Jordfald, and more than 500 people registered!

Our knowledgeable team of major gifts experts reminded us that we need to get back to basics.

Stop pursuing the “money.”

Step away from the transactional idea of getting a gift now, and spend your time connecting with, and showing love to your donors.

Acknowledge the Landscape

Before we dive into strategies, let’s acknowledge the reality. The philanthropic arena is experiencing shifts, and our donors are not immune.

External factors, economic volatility, and world events weigh on all our minds. While the affluent may navigate volatility differently, it’s still our responsibility to be conscious and pivot strategically.

So, let’s talk about how we can ace that big ask even when the going gets tough.

Back to Basics

1. Deepen Donor Relationships

Forget the dollars and focus on your lovely donor relationships. Your donors are not just ATM machines; they’re the heart and soul of your cause. Don’t treat them like a wallet. Remind them how much they matter!

2. Psych Yourself Up

Got jitters about the ask?

Kick those nerves to the curb! Practice, but not just any practice – practice inspiring your donors by getting them to talk about their hopes and dreams. Then share with them your organization’s vision and get them excited about being part of the journey.

3. Your Best Year-End Fundraising Strategy

Who gave last year and hasn’t given yet this year? Identify your top 50 donors who have not given yet this fiscal year, and focus on them. This is the best way to reach your year-end fundraising goal.

4. Board and Leadership Alignment

Time to get your board and leadership on the same fundraising boat. Let them know that you’re focusing on donor relationships because that’s what works. It’s all about individual people and their affinity for your cause, not just chasing after new faces.

5. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Shower your donors with gratitude, and you just might be able to turn that thank-you call into a Discovery Call. Find out what exciting interests your donors have, what they hold true in their hearts, and how your cause fits into their world.

Handshake | Gail Perry

Partner with us.

Find out how we can help you achieve your fundraising goals with world-class consulting and custom training.

6. Treat Your Donors Like Insiders.

Make your donors feel special. Be sure to know their special relationship with your cause. Check in regularly – let them know they’re part of an exclusive group making a real impact on the world.

The Art of the BIG Ask

But what about the six and seven-figure asks?

The thoughtful Eli Jordfald reminded us that BIG asks are never a one-shot deal. Instead, they are a series of organic conversations about what the donor may want to do. Eli says these gentle, nudging conversations are “elegant and organic.”

Get your donor to talk – and be sure to listen. Again, it’s not about the money.

Bottom Line: In these volatile times, keep in mind that the key is to be bold, refocus on your most important donors, and make it about the donor – not about the money.

If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Email coaching@gailperry.com if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.