Third in a six-part series: Truth Bombs About Major Gifts
Why does your organization exist today? Is it relevant? Is it meeting a societal need?
You may be asking, “why is this a truth bomb related to major gifts?” You see, many non-profits have moved away from their original mission, and it’s not entirely clear anymore why they’re in business. It’s no wonder that staff are no longer aligned about what the mission really is. And when that’s true, there’s no way to run an effective major gift program.
As we state in our new book, It’s Not JUST About the Donor, “We in the non-profit community have lost our way. We’ve moved away from our deeper purpose and become organizations with little heart and diffused focus.”
Think about how your non-profit started. A few people (or maybe just one person) got inspired to meet a pressing need. They inspired a few others to join them in this new mission. It grew. Great things are getting done, it may be messy, but everyone is pulling together for the cause.
But then it gets bigger. You now have departments; things become siloed. There’s a disconnect between program, finance, and development. The mission becomes diffused, the structure of the organization becomes more complex, and the reason you’re in existence is less clear.
You can’t do major gifts in that kind of environment… not effectively.
Step back and reflect on whether the work you’re doing today is still connected to that original mission and passion. Then bring your staff together to make sure you’re aligned on your purpose.
Major gift fundraising is emotional work. When your organization is aligned on its mission, vision and purpose in alleviating a need, it makes it much easier to take that need to a donor and inspire them to help change the world.
This is no small thing. Richard and I have listened to many major gift officers who tell us they don’t feel good asking a donor for a gift, because they’ve lost confidence that the organization is still providing a societal good. They question leadership and their ability to communicate the vision, and they lament that management doesn’t care about them.
A major gift program cannot help a lost organization turn around. But a thriving, mission-driven, donor-centered, purposeful organization can help a major gift program succeed. (Tweet it!)
PS — Check out our new book here! Idea: Give it as a gift to your manager or CEO!
Read the series “Truth Bombs About Major Gifts”