If, as a MGO or PGO, all you’re doing is shuffling papers around, making some contacts and working the plan in order to get the money – if this is all you’re doing, it’s not going to work for you, or your donor, or the organization long-term.
Because you don’t really care.
You don’t really care about the cause. You don’t care about the problem. You don’t want to see a solution to the problem. All you care about is the job and the money it brings.
You may think that these statements are rather harsh. But the sad fact is that Jeff and I and our front-line team see this non-caring way too often. I’ve often thought that, especially for those staff members who touch donors or relate to the systems that service donors (receipting, communications, etc.) – that those staff members should pass some “caring test” before they’re hired.
Because they must care if they’re going to effectively help the donor be the bridge to the planet’s greatest needs and hurts. Think about this. All of this effort of mid, major and planned gifts is not really about passing money from the donor to the organization, even though that is a needed (and required) activity.
But that’s not the central thing.
The central thing is helping the like-minded donor join you in addressing a societal problem. That’s the main thing. And it’s so often forgotten because getting the money is all we can talk about (and really all we seem to care about sometimes).
Here’s what we suggest you should do every day BEFORE you start your work with donors:

  1. Get in a quiet place where you can be with yourself without distraction.
  2. Focus on the need of the beneficiaries of your cause. It could be people, animals, nature… whatever it is. Focus on that – get a fix on that need.
  3. Grieve about the need. The pain, the loss, the missing – let it into your inner being. Sit with it. It may be uncomfortable. But be with the need. If it’s a human, empathize. If it’s a polluted river, humanize it then feel it. If it’s the loss of music or art, feel the loss. Grieve about the need. This one point is very important and needed to help you care.
  4. Take that renewed caring with you into your day and constantly remind yourself what you’re doing. This will help you focus properly amid all the other stuff that’s whirling around you.

Caring – really caring – is such an important part of being a successful front-line fundraiser because the donor can sense it. They’ll know if you care. They’ll also know if you don’t. (Tweet it!) And when that happens, they won’t travel with you. Don’t let that happen.