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Wise words from a fundraising guru

Wise words from a fundraising guru

July 2015

I’m sure Larry C. Johnson, a wise American fundraising consultant, won’t mind my re-broadcasting his recent excellent blog about major gifts.  His words particularly resonate with me, because a very new development job of mine in the States came to a swift end when my executive director, in despair after her one major donor decided to take a year off, ordered me to ‘go out and find someone rich.’ 

I’m sorry but it doesn’t work that way, no matter how many anecdotes you may hear to the contrary.  The art and technique of major-gift fundraising is something you learn, preferably at the hands of someone who is really good at it.  Said she, raising her hand. 

Here is what Larry says*:  ‘As I talk to other fundraisers, consultants and nonprofit executives there seems to be a preoccupation with what are called “major gifts.”  Everyone seems to be on the look out for the “big one.” 

‘Even in modest giving, the idea of the next ice bucket challenge looms large – but that’s a subject for another time.

‘Let me just say there are more than enough “major” donors to go around and they are much closer to your organization or cause than you may think.

‘You don’t have to contrive an introduction or barge into their personal lives by just “happening” to bump into them a their daughter’s soccer match.  And there’s certainly no need to go creepy and “stalk” them, as I heard one fundraiser say recently.

‘Principle 4 of The Eight Principles™ is Learn & Plan™.  Before building your team of supporters, take a good long look at yourself.  What is it you truly value?

‘Principle 5 of The Eight Principles is Work From the Inside Out™, so you won’t need to look far.  

‘Look around you.  Do you see others who share your dreams? 

‘Once you’ve identified your true supporters, make plans on bringing them into the fold.  Naturally. 

‘You won’t need to contrive a meeting, nor approach your investor through a feint or dodge. 

‘Let the relationship grow naturally.   That’s the way long-term relationships and transformative gifts are created. 

‘Now that’s a unique fundraising idea.’

If you need help with readying your charity to ask for and receive major gifts — however you decide to define them — with identifying potential donors among your own supporters, or training your staff and volunteers, get in touch!  

* Copyright © 2015 M E Grace & Associates, Inc. The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® and Donors are the Drivers® are registered trademarks of M E Grace & Associates, Inc.


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