I recently wrote a post on LinkedIn that said: “Events are NOT Major Gifts.” It probably was the single most commented on and liked post I’ve ever made on social media.
I didn’t put that post up though to get “likes” and comments. I put it up because for the almost 20 years that Veritus has been working with major gift officers, this has been a huge issue that negatively affects major gift revenue.
And the reason so many people responded to it is because unfortunately, it resonates with MGOs.
But it’s not just about events. It’s about anything you ask an MGO to do outside of working on their portfolio. Taking major gift officers away from fundraising hurts your revenue.
Over the years, Richard and I have been hammering non-profit leaders and managers NOT to ask your fundraisers to do anything other than working their portfolio. And, while some of them have gotten the word and allowed major gift officers to focus on the right work, way too many people just don’t get it.
So, I’m renewing the clarion call to all leaders and managers. If you want to consistently grow revenue by developing authentic relationships with donors, please don’t expect your fundraisers to do extra work outside of cultivating the donors in their portfolio. That means you’re not asking your MGO to do the following:
- Plan events.
- Sit in endless internal meetings. (Think of your major gift officer like a salesperson. Would you invite your salesperson to a meeting on how to celebrate staff birthdays? No way.)
- Put them on internal organizational committees.
- Task them with running to the airport to pick up the board president (unless he’s on their caseload).
- Require them to do their own expense reports and data entry.
- Create their own brochures and have them learn photoshop.
- Write fundraising appeals.
Instead, instruct your fundraisers to:
- Qualify their donors.
- Tier their donors, A-C.
- Create a revenue goal for every donor and cash-flow them.
- Create a 12-month communication plan that shows how they will achieve the goal.
- Work their plan.
If the MGO does everything on this second list, they will develop authentic relationships with donors, they will get to know their donors’ passions and interests, and they will raise significantly more money. It’s actually quite simple, but you have to stay committed to it.
Don’t jeopardize your major gift revenue by straying from these five things. Help your MGO stay focused, and you will see the amazing results you’ve been looking for.