I’m sure the title of my blog post shocked you, but it’s true. Not all of the donors in your portfolio will want to meet with you in person. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to have a relationship with you.
As Richard and I are always preaching, only about 1/3 of the donors in your database that meet your major gift metric (that you would consider a potential major donor) actually want to meet with you.
Of those donors who are now qualified in your portfolio, there will be perhaps 10-15% of them that just don’t want to meet you face to face. Or in some cases, it’s just not practical for the donor or for you. They are, however, still interested in talking to you on the phone or by e-mail, so they can learn how their giving is making an impact, or to be thanked, or to be solicited for a gift.
But until you actually get to know your donors, you don’t know who they are. You have to work to learn more about them because ultimately, your job is to serve your donors outrageously and deepen the relationship between the donor and your organization.
This is why, when we are helping major gift officers create their strategic plans for every donor on their caseload, one of the key bits of information we need is the donor’s preference for communication. This helps honor the donor, and it informs everyone about how that donor should be treated.
One of the key metrics we use at Veritus (besides meeting individual revenue goals for every donor) is how many MEANINGFUL touches you have made with a donor. “Meaningful” means that the phone call or email or personal visit moved the relationship forward. Did you learn something new about the donor that allows you to deepen the relationship? Did you help the donor in their understanding of a project you think would be great for them to invest in?
Too many non-profits are focused only on how many face-to-face visits an MGO has with their donors every week or month. We have several stories about major gift officers who went to events, and because they said hello to their donors, they logged into their database that they had a face-to-face visit with a donor!
Was it meaningful? No, probably not. But because the pressure to adhere to a metric is so strong, they “fudge” the numbers and their managers don’t know the difference.
On the other hand, many MGOs we work with have incredibly meaningful touches over email or phone with donors that they never would have had an opportunity to visit. Why? Because that is how the donor preferred it.
Look, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression that you should not meet face to face with your caseload donors. Remember, I said only 10-15% of your caseload donors will not want to meet with you. That means that 120-135 of your 150 donors DO! And those donors need that personal, one-on-one connection to be asked for a gift.
So don’t think you are off the hook about visiting donors.
The key is knowing your donors so well that you know exactly how they want to be served. And not all of them that want that personal attention have to meet with you. (Tweet it!)
Now, go out there and make some meaningful connections with your donors.