I was listening to her tell her story. A single mom and her small child in trouble, they were helped by this nonprofit. She told me where they lived, how they both had been abused by a very controlling man, how she had tried to run away and was caught and beaten.
And then her heart got the best of her. She paused, struggling to find words to express her deep feelings. There was a long silence. A tear trickled down her cheek, and she was overcome with emotion. I cried too. I felt the pain. I was in the story and felt close to that precious mom and her child. My heart had kicked in.
And we sat there for a few minutes in total silence.
This is what Jeff and I believe major gifts is all about – connecting your heart to those you serve (or to a hurting animal or forest or ecosystem), and letting yourself feel the real essence of the situation. Letting your heart kick in.
At Veritus Group, we value emotions and feelings, and we freely encourage all of our associates to express them regardless of whether it is sadness, fear, anger or joy. If you hung around us very long, you would see that the heart is kicking in quite a bit. And that is good.
It is good because that is real life – it is the real world we all live in. In some cultures the expression of emotion and feelings is encouraged. In others, everything is tight and controlled. Regardless of where you are from, if you are in major gifts we encourage you to let your heart go, which is why over the next five posts I am going to talk about major gifts being a thing of the heart. In the next few days I will explore:

  1. The fact that humans are first driven by heart and light and that it is our wounds that turn all of that goodness and warmth to a dark, tight and controlled thing. Jeff and I would like you to start with the premise that major gifts is not about money, taxes, power or standing. Instead, it is a thing of the heart. We would like for you to believe this as a MGO.
  2. The fact that major donors want to see good done. They really do. And if you operate with a belief that that is true, then your core objective will be to connect your donor’s heart to the cause.
  3. The truth that major donors want to know it works. They don’t need to know HOW it works – well, some might. They just want to know it works – that their giving has actually done something, and it has satisfied their heart.
  4. How to change the conversation in your organization from money to healing the hurts of the planet, and helping donors fulfill their passions and interests. We will even talk about how finance people have a heart. We want to help you elevate the major gift function in your organization to a thing of the heart.
  5. How one key strategy will help you and all the people inside and outside your organization – your donor, your manager, the finance person, everyone – get their hearts engaged with the real thing.

If you are reading this and you are feeling closed, tight and defensive – if you are quietly saying, under your breath, “This is a bunch of hogwash. This guy wants me to turn into some mushy cry baby and I am not going to do it.” If that is what you are thinking, please stop and think about this.
Jeff and I really do not want you to turn into some emotional basket case. We simply want to see your heart – that place inside of you that is caring and compassionate – that place that wants the best for those around you and for our planet. It IS in there. We just want to see it come out, because it will be good for you and your donor and the great cause you are in.
Read the whole series: