Archive for May 17th, 2013

May 17, 2013

A Donor Offers You $5,000. Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve done everything right, so far. As a result, a prospect has offered to write a $5,000 check to your nonprofit organization. She only has one question: “Who should I make the check out to?”

So, what should you do next?:

A. Let loose with an enthusiastic, sincere, “Whoohoo!”

B. Thank the donor and tell her the proper name of the organization for the check.

C. Tell the donor the information is on your organization’s website.

D. Thank the donor, tell her the proper name of the organization for the check, and then say, “And, let me just ask, if I may, do you have any appreciated stock?”

Check SigningIf you’re like most development professionals, you probably answered “B.”

While that’s not exactly a wrong answer, there is a better one that will be more helpful for the donor and for your charity: “D.”

Sadly, many development professionals wrongfully assume that all donors of means know, at least, the basics of financial planning and tax avoidance. However, that’s simply not the case.

Sometime ago, I served on the board of a nonprofit organization. At one of the charity’s events that I attended, a modest donor came over to me and expressed an interest in donating $5,000. She simply needed to know the organization’s official name so she could put it on the check.

As in the above scenario, after thanking her and providing the information, I asked if she had any appreciated stock.

Puzzled by my question, she replied, “Yes, I do. Why do you ask?”

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