Structure.Many major gift fundraisers resist structure. They like the “freedom” to go out and connect with donors, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner appointments, do events, get on planes, meet new people, and not feel constrained by a plan.
But in our opinion, this is an important reason why major gift fundraisers either change jobs every couple of years, or burn out quickly. This freedom, while it seems attractive at first, lends itself to frustration and ultimately major gift failure.
“Freedom” without a boundary or structure doesn’t work. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive. But in all our research and practice of best business and individual success, having a structure to work within allows you MORE freedom.
At Veritus we’re big advocates of creating a structure for major gift programs to be successful. We call it the Veritus Way of Major Gifts. (Tweet it!) We didn’t create this structure because we wanted to quash creativity. We created it because we knew it would unleash more creativity in major gift fundraisers.
I like this quote by David Allen:

“It’s hard to be fully creative without structure and constraint. Try to paint without a canvas. Creativity and freedom are two sides of the same coin. I like the best of both worlds. Want freedom? Get organized. Want to get organized? Get creative.”

I want to be noticeably clear. To be successful in major gifts there is no magic or new strategy to implement. There’s nothing shiny to chase here.
We’ve been doing this work successfully now for many, many years. We’ve worked with over 1,000 major gift officers and we know exactly what works and how you can be successful at this work. It’s having that proper structure and then executing within that structure. And executing WITHIN that structure is where you can be wildly creative.
But you HAVE to create the structure. And you HAVE to work within it. Just as an artist has to work within the boundaries of that canvas, you have to work within the boundaries of that structure.
The major gift fundraisers who embrace that, are successful. Period. Those that don’t or those that are not given the opportunity to work within the proper structure, struggle and fail. We don’t want to see you fail.
We want to see you succeed and find joy in the work you do.
PS — Download the Veritus Way. This is the structure you need in place to be successful. It’s a one-page document that you can hang up near your computer to keep you focused.