Major gifts fundraising mistakes are everywhere! Dealing with major donors can be so challenging – and the entire effort is subtle, full of nuance. You’re trying to make friends with someone who expresses interest in your cause, but what to do? How to do it? What to say, and when? What not to say? And then, how do you coach C-suite executives on appropriate behavior with donors? They are the ones who tend to “talk at” the donor rather than allow the donor to do the talking. Each of these videos outlines a key mistake that happens all too often.
So today, we’re laughing at some frequent major gifts fundraising mistakes that we often make.
Don’t forget – in our Major Gifts Intensive coaching and training program, we are teaching everyone the correct way to work with major donors. Your visits will have clear objectives and you end up with a happy donor making a huge investment. And you won’t waste time in endless cultivation. This year’s Major Gifts Intensive registration closes out next week on Feb 15th, so if you are interested, let us know asap!
Major Gift Fundraising Mistake #1: Rushing the Ask
Asking before a donor is ready to be asked is rushing the ask. Remember that major gifts fundraising is not transactional! It’s all about how the donor “feels” about your work – are they committed, are they enthusiastic? When you make it all about a quick, ask when the donor is unprepared, you will put off your donor and you’ll get a NO!
Mistake #2: Making it All About Money
Remember that your donor supports your cause because they’re passionate about your mission, and dedicated to making the world a better place. When you talk only about money and not about the donor’s commitment, you’ll leave your donor cold. You might get a gift but it’s only a token. Not what the donor could really do.
Mistake #3: Confusing Suspects and Prospects
If you’re going to be successful you have to sort your portfolio into suspects and prospects. Suspects are people who are not yet qualified – which means you don’t know if they have the passion and the capacity to make a major gift. Prospects are those lovely people who are qualified. To be successful, spend your time with well-qualified prospects.
Mistake #4: Messing up the Discovery Process
Discovery is your friend. The Discovery Process happens when you ask your prospective donor questions to find out if they are really interested, have wealth capacity, and are available to be cultivated. You ask questions like, “Would you like to know more? Or, would you like to get more involved? The donor will tell you whether they are interested – or not. And you’ll “discover” whether the person is really a prospect or not.
Bottom Line: Avoid These Major Gifts Fundraising Mistakes!
Don’t feel alone! I’ve certainly made plenty of bloopers. And, I just wish I knew way back when I was a front-line fundraiser, all the things I know now. We’ve all bungled important meetings with key donors. We’ve all missed cues or rushed the Ask or talked too much. It happens every day with key donors all over the world, unfortunately. You can find three more of our top fundraising blunders here. Let these videos guide you and your team to major gifts fundraising success!