The Donor Teared Up. Then He Offered a Campaign Gift, Unasked.

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The Donor Teared Up. Then He Offered a Campaign Gift, Unasked.

Here’s a wonderful Major Gifts Intensive success story from one of our smart participants.

Chris Cook, Executive Director of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, said he really enjoyed practicing his new advanced 21st-century fundraising skills.  He learned how to create magical conversations with his donors because he achieved some stellar results.  

Here’s a situation – from an amazing donor conversation – when the donor simply offered a capital campaign gift – without even being asked.  Here’s what Chris shared (with our commentary):  “I started the conversation by asking how our organization pulls on his heart.”

(Our note: You should always start every donor conversation with a question about why they give to your organization.)

“First, he told me he was very grateful that I asked.”

(Our note: Many donors are often dying to share their “donor story.” This is an easy, seamless, and polite way to establish a deeper connection with your donor.)

“Second, he revealed to me that he had never been asked this question before by anyone and that he deeply appreciated it.”

(Our note: Your donors have deep feelings in their hearts for your organization’s work. But people don’t ever ask them. It will open the floodgates and you’ll be surprised.)

“As my donor explained this, his eyes started to get teary.” 

“I could see that he was immediately thinking back about his history with the organization, and how it has impacted him, his kids’ lives, and his grandkids’ lives.”

“This is because of art he now has, in two different homes. And how that art inspires conversation and education and connection.”

Then he immediately jumped in and started explaining his big picture for philanthropy.”

“He surprised me when he shared that he has three key areas of giving that are important to him. And that our organization is one of his three priorities!”

“It was huge news to me!”

“This was not, by any stretch, a challenging conversation to have. My donor opened up in new ways that I had not seen before.”

“And then – you won’t believe this, but he made a pledge for the capital campaign that we plan in the future.”

Bottom Line from this Major Gifts Intensive Success Story

Ask your donor why they care, or why your cause resonates with them, and then watch out. Your donor will take you places you never knew, and just may offer a gift right then and there.

The annual Major Gifts Intensive opens for registration in November each year. Let us know if you’d like to be added to the waiting list!

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly insights with you as we cover important fundraising strategies. 

If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.