Looking to get rid of your major donor? Here are ten easy ways you can do it: (Tweet it!)
- Have a relationship with her that’s all about her money. Jeff and I have talked about this quite a bit. Your relationship with your donor is not about the money. It’s about fulfilling her passions and interests.
- Don’t tell her that her gift made a difference. This is one of the biggest failures in fundraising. And why so many organizations lose donors – they don’t tell the donor the very thing the donor needs in their relationship to the organization, namely: “What is my gift actually accomplishing?”
- Ignore what she’s interested in. A donor has specific interests. Ignore them at your peril. Work hard to find out what they are.
- Take your time thanking her for her gift. The back offices of so many organizations are in disrepair or have a focus on how the internal authority figures believe the system and process should be. Consequently, the donor’s left out of the equation, and proper thanking and stewardship doesn’t happen. The result? Donors are negatively affected and go away.
- Let her be affected by internal politics. Jeff and I have seen this so many times – one division of the organization lays claim to the donor, and so does another division or function. Then they both contact the donor, causing confusion. There should only be one “owner” of the donor relationship. Don’t let your internal battles and interests leak out to your donor.
- Keep a poor record of your relationship with her. One MGO has a relationship with the donor and doesn’t keep records. He leaves. A new MGO contacts the donor and requests all the same information the old MGO did. How frustrating is that? The donor wonders: “Do you know me? Don’t you remember what I told you?” Keep good records so that the donor can be known no matter who’s relating to her.
- Force her to meet with you in person. A common problem: the MGO’s manager has forced the MGO to meet face-to-face with every donor. So the MGO forces her way onto the donor, causing friction and a negative response – and violating the donor’s communication preferences.
- Don’t tell the donor about changes in the project he’s interested in. You persuaded the donor to fund the project or program he’s interested in. Then the project changes direction. You’re afraid to tell the donor, fearing he’ll be upset. So you don’t – big mistake! The donor will feel deceived, and you’ll lose the relationship. Always be transparent. And do it quickly – as soon as you know things have changed.
- Avoid him if there’s an issue he has with you or the organization. Conflict avoidance is a huge problem in major gifts. A donor has a problem with the MGO or the organization, and the MGO ignores it for fear of conflict. If you do this, you’ll cause more problems. Face what’s going on in the relationship quickly and openly.
- Don’t have a plan in your relationship with him. When you don’t know where you’re going in a relationship, most of what you’re doing is driven by impulse and your point of view. This causes confusion, disjointed messaging, and poor interactions. Have a personalized plan with every donor.
Just do one or more of these ten things, and you’ll be sure to get rid of your donor.
If, on the other hand, you want to keep your major donor, work hard not to let any of these things happen.