In my previous blog post, I focused on the advice donors themselves provided for how nonprofit organizations can enhance their planned gift marketing efforts. The seven tips they provided covered things that organizations should embrace. For this post, I want to share some wisdom from Peter Benoliel, Chairman-Emeritus of Quaker Chemical, who is a generous philanthropist and recipient of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Greater Philadelphia’s Legacy Award for Planned Giving Philanthropist. Benoliel offers five development tips for every development officer, as an individual:
Development professionals, senior staff, and volunteer leadership should be passionate about the organization and its mission.
If you’re not able to be passionate about the organization you represent, how can you be effective? You can’t. So, either get passionate or get out. Prospective donors will take their cue from you. If you’re not genuinely passionate about the organization, they won’t be either. Be passionate, and share your passion. When you do, just be sure to be sincere since prospective donors can smell pretense a mile away.
Staff and volunteer fundraisers should be morally armed by making their own donation first.
Yes, I know. Your organization is probably not paying you enough. But, you’ve still decided to work there. And, donors, like Benoliel, expect you to support the organization with a donation. They feel that since you have a vested interest in its well-being, you should support the organization before asking them to do so. If you don’t care enough, why should they?
Development professionals should send personal, handwritten notes.
In this electronic age, few people send handwritten notes. Therefore, one simple, inexpensive thing you can do to stand-out in the crowd is to write handwritten notes to prospective contributors and donors. They’ll appreciate the content, and they’ll appreciate the personal touch. Fortunately, I know from personal experience, you don’t even need to have pretty handwriting to score big points with this tip.
Development professionals should recognize gifts in unexpected ways.
Surprising donors with special recognition can have a massive impact. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Just make it sincere and personal. The little extra can be something as simple as recognizing the donor at an event when they weren’t expecting the shout-out. If you want them to care, show them you care.
Development professionals should avoid silly mistakes like sending multiple copies of the same appeal, sending a form appeal to a donor who has just made a gift, or ignoring a donor who is in the middle of a multiyear gift commitment.
What more can I say? Try to avoid the silly mistakes. When you make them, and you eventually will make one, own up to it and apologize. Never argue, never be officious, never pass the buck. Apologize and do what you can to make things right.
Embracing these five simple tips from a major philanthropist can help you achieve greater fundraising success. That’s what Michael Rosen Says… It’s also what Peter Benoliel says. What do you say?