Recently, I received an e-mail from a CEO who “just had to” write to Richard and me to share a story of how the Marketing Impact Chart (“MIC”) made a profound impact on how her organization works with major donors.
The CEO told us the story of how her Director of Development (“DoD”) showed her the MIC after she downloaded it from our website. The DoD explained to the CEO that she was going to set a goal and create a plan for every one of her donors.
The CEO told us, “To tell you the truth, I thought it was a waste of her time. I just wanted her to go out and start talking to donors. But I relented and told her she could do it.”
So the DoD went about creating the plan… and she worked it. Since January the DoD has been following her plan for all 75 of her major donors. (Since she only devotes 50% of her time to major gifts, after reading our blog she realized that 75 was manageable.) Not only has she been working her plan, but also revenue has exceeded her monthly goals to date.
In the DoD’s MIC, she put down that in the month of July she was going to write a personal thank you note to everyone on her caseload.
This is where it gets really good.
The CEO says, “So Mary, the DoD [not her real name], asked if we could spend a day together writing out thank you notes to our major donors. Again, I was skeptical why we’d have to ‘waste’ a whole day sending out these notes. But something quite amazing happened.”
The CEO goes on to say, “As we started going over her list from the MIC, inevitably we started talking about each donor together. We talked about what specific things we could say in our thank you notes. We started sharing stories of how we knew these donors and how they came to know our organization. For the first time, Jeff, I realized how extraordinarily important these folks are to our mission. A light bulb went off in my head! These folks make it possible for us to do what we do. Now, you’d think I would get that as the CEO, but admittedly, I had lost touch.”
She goes on to say, “Then we did something at the end that was quite profound and caught me by surprise. At the end of the day, we had 75 notes, all hand-addressed and stamped in the middle of the table and something compelled Mary and me to pause for a moment, put our hands on the cards and wish our donors well. And we talked about how our wish would be that every donor would know how much they are loved by this organization.
“Jeff, I’m not a religious person, but that was a spiritual experience for me. That moment put me in touch with our donors in a way that I had never imagined. What I realized is that Mary’s insistence of putting together a plan using that Marketing Impact Chart actually brought me closer to who are donors are. It forced me to look at each donor as an individual and understand their value as a person and their value to our organization. I just had to tell you this.”
What a powerful story! It’s a reminder to Richard and me that sometimes we can look at planning and goal-setting and Excel workbooks as one of those “things we just have to do.” But after receiving this story, now I’m thinking how great it is that we get to plan, set goals and use spreadsheets – because it helps lead us to something quite profound.