The very best year, he gave $16,250. But this donor’s giving had fluctuated between $2,000 and $6,000 most of the time he was connected to the organization.
And then the donor passed away and left them $919,000 from an IRA!!
I love this story, because it is a perfect example of several major gift principles Jeff and I and our team are continually trying to emphasize in our work:
- A major donor may be hidden from you. No matter how much research you do and how many questions you ask, you may not immediately discern the capacity of a donor. In this case it was hidden. The donor gave enough to qualify for caseload status, but the MGO was not aware of the potential.
- Relationship matters. We routinely talk and write about how relationship drives giving, and that the focus of a MGO needs to be on serving the passions and interests of the donor rather than grabbing the money. I personally know the organization where this MGO and this donor reside. And one thing I know about them is that they are very relationally oriented. They truly care about and nurture their donors. Long before this MGO got this donor assigned to her caseload, a lot of good was happening between this organization and this donor.
You must remember these two principles as you do your work this week with your caseload donors. You will be tempted to figure out ways to just get the money – it happens to all of us. But Jeff and I ask you to ignore that temptation and, instead, spend your energy and creativity on finding new ways to be thoughtful, nurturing and caring with each donor on your caseload.
It is difficult to do, I know, because the stress and demands of the day are on you. But stop and think about how you can pour yourself into these precious people’s lives and help them fulfill their interests and passions. If you can do this successfully (which we know you can), it will pay off economically in surprising ways.