I like to make lists of things – grocery lists, to-do lists, etc. I also like to create lists that help focus me and inspire me so that I can go back to them over and over.
Today, I’m going to make a list for major gift officers, so that you can print it out and stick it somewhere near your computer and have it handy when you need an idea or a little inspiration. I’m going to give you 25 ways you can be successful with your donors in 2016.
Here goes.

  1. Have a revenue goal for every donor on your caseload.
  2. Have a personalized plan for every donor that shows how you will serve their interests and passions and how you’re going to achieve your goal.
  3. Thank your donors often. In fact, put when you are going to thank donors into your overall communication plan.
  4. At least four times a year, tell each of your donors how his giving has made a difference.
  5. Get to know something unique about your “A” level donors, and do something to let each of them know it.
  6. Be the greatest customer service agent your donors have ever experienced.
  7. Ask your donors for gifts that will make an impact.
  8. Challenge your donors to give more than “their usual gift.”
  9. Meet face to face with your donors just to get to know them.
  10. Create meaningful, carefully thought out offers for your donors to say “YES” to.
  11. Don’t get easily discouraged when you try to reach a donor. Keep trying; they do want to hear from you.
  12. Send random, handwritten thank you notes throughout the year, just because your donors are great people and you want to tell them that.
  13. Love your caseload of donors. Don’t go chasing new people – love the ones you already have.
  14. Figure out ways to show the mission of your organization to your donors that will inspire them and break their hearts open.
  15. If you are at an event, make donors feel welcomed and cared for. Put THEM first.
  16. Tell the truth.
  17. Think of ways to make your donors feel the mission and get emotionally involved.
  18. Be honest with your donors when you make mistakes. Let them see you are human.
  19. Find a way to make every contact with a donor truly meaningful.
  20. Ask your donors for advice.
  21. Try to come to work every day with a grateful heart toward your donors.
  22. Be kind.
  23. Really listen to your donors. Understand what they want.
  24. Create experiences for your donors that they will not forget.
  25. Connect your donors with each other. You can broker friendships.

If you can incorporate these 25 into 2016, I can guarantee that you will have a very successful year. Richard and I wish you the best Holiday season and a Happy New Year!