Just recently, one of our coaches at Veritus posted in our Slack celebrations channel about an MGO she is working with. This MGO grew her relationship with a donor who gave $50,000 in 2020 and then recently gave a $1,000,000 gift, with more to come.

How did the MGO do it? I’ll give you the simple steps she took with this donor.

  1. She identified the donor’s passions and interests and found a project the donor would find interesting. The result was that $50,000 gift.
  2. She then continued to steward the donor by reporting back on the impact of her gift, reaching out regularly to stay in touch, providing ongoing reports about all the good things the organization does, creating touch points specifically around this donor’s interests, and sometimes just calling to check in.

The other day, the donor called the MGO – yes, you read that right – the DONOR called the MGO, and said she was ready to make another gift. And this time she wanted to give $1,000,000!

Even better, the donor said she had another $6,000,000 to give away, and while she gives to many organizations, she said she was giving a $1,000,000 gift to this organization because this MGO is the only one who regularly communicates with her and gets back to her promptly!

So, matching the donor’s passions and interests with a program or project related to the organization’s mission and ongoing communication with the donor was how this donor went from $50K to $1MM.

This is so simple, yet so many major gift officers aren’t doing this. The donor said directly, NO ONE COMMUNICATES WITH ME. Richard and I have countless stories from donors, including our own experiences, where the donor laments they never hear from the organization that they’re making a significant investment in.

Now, I’m going to give a bunch of credit to our coach who worked with this MGO to ensure she had a strategic communication plan for every one of her donors. That plan, and the MGO’s ability to work that plan, is what resulted in that gift.

Everyone is looking for either some new strategy or a quick fix to get donors to give a major gift. But there is no new breakthrough strategy or fast track to a transformational gift. It’s about creating a relationship, knowing the donor, and then showing up for the donor over and over again in the way that the donor prefers to be communicated with.

This is what major gifts is. It’s what it always has been and will always continue to be.