The Joy of Giving

Have you heard a Director in your organisation say:  “I don’t feel comfortable asking for that much (high level £ gift) because I don’t want to undermine our relationship”.........

The underlying implication here is that asking for a high level £ gift is something that is likely to spoil the relationship and is therefore something derogatory.  In fact the opposite is true.  Giving is joyful.  Philanthropists experience an immense amount of satisfaction seeing the difference their gift has made.  Which is why it is so important to feed back on everything their gift has achieved – and regularly.

As a Major Gifts Executive we want to encourage them to give at the highest possible £ level to receive the greatest joy.

As *Rob Parsons said very few business men will write on their grave stone “I wish I had spent more time at the office!” Giving is part of a philanthropist’s 'non-work' time and often the part of their life that will be most significant to them.  This is especially true if their family are involved in the decision.  And if they can visit the work they have supported to see it first hand and experience the deep emotion of seeing lives transformed purely because of their giving, in some cases sacrificially, it is immensely satisfying.  They will remember this to their grave.

If you have any hesitation regarding this I would recommend trying to get over it as soon as possible.  Think 'Ask high = offer more joy'.
If you have spent at least 6 – 9 months (as a minimum – some high level donors may take 2 – 3 years to get to this place) building a deep relationship with an individual and their family with many touch points then there is no issue with asking them for a high level £ gift.

As a Major Gifts Executive you have to judge when the time is right.  When the time comes, as long as the relationship is warm, then ask high!  You have nothing to lose.  You are not asking for yourself, you are asking for others who have a need.   Think to yourself – ‘I am offering joy and deep satisfaction to the donor’.

If you know the donor well they will soon tell you “I wish I could, but I am not in a position to do that right now, however I would be happy to do this ... £ gift”.  You have not lost credibility with that person all they see is someone who is deeply caring for others and presenting a need.

The important part is to keep the relationship blossoming.  You will not offend them – they can only say yes, no or maybe and usually it is the latter while they ponder all this will mean for themselves and their family.

Whichever decision they give you keep the touch points going.  It may be a “not now because....” answer.

Building relationships leading to a high level £ Ask is your job as a Major Gifts Executive and helping your Directors see how much joy is on offer is very important to your role.  And of course feeding back to your giver very thoroughly through reports, videos, phone calls and stories (use your creativity!) to ensure this joy is fulfilled.

Otherwise it will not be satisfying to the giver and it is unlikely they will give again.  However, if they have a deep, meaningful experience with you and your organisation they will continue giving and, if you challenge them, may well even give a higher gift the following year.

*Rob Parsons – Founding Chairman, Care for the Family

Comment or ask a question below …

Ruth is the principal and founder of Ascent Philanthropy, author of two books and passionate about helping non-profits with their major gift programmes by offering advice for introducing a new major gift programme or enhancing the productivity of the philanthropy team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.