Do You Know Where You’re Going With Your Givers?

by Marcy Heim on April 3, 2017

Blog Header - Do you know where you’re going with your givers?

Creating successful major giving relationships with your givers is like taking a trip….and it’s an inspiring journey as well!

AFP San Antonio1. What’s your destination?

Before you can create a map, you need to know where you are going! FIRST step! What is your giver (or group of mid-level givers) most passionate about? Based on what you already know from past giving and interactions – set a giving goal that helps THEM accomplish THEIR GOAL. (Not YOUR needs list – who wants to be needy anyway?)  Or, take your best guess and explore the destination with your giver in the first few calls.

 2. What are your route choices?

There’s the highway (direct) and the side roads (generally a more relaxed pace) and all sorts of combinations depending on what we want to experience along the way.

 3. Who should come along?

Who should drive?Do you want to do all the driving yourself? Share it? Who and Why? A Prospect Relationship Manager plans the trip AND SEES THAT IT HAPPENS, but may or may not do all the driving.  Your contact screens keep everyone who needs to know in the loop, but not necessarily in the action.  (They have their own trips to plan!)

4. Who might you meet up with along the way?

Sure, you can explain everything, but is that the most fun? A board member, student, financial expert, camper, other donor, alum, clergy or others will add to the trip experience in a special way. Take the time to set up the stop and perhaps a specific result. These smaller gifts grow into the major investment. What other stops ADD and BUILD to the experience at the final destination?

5.  What do you need to bring on the trip?

Bottled water. OK.  Are there favorite snacks, books, magazines or games that make the trip especially fun and rewarding?  What lets your travel partner CLEARLY KNOW you deeply APPRECIATE them coming along with you?

6.  Do you need to make any reservations ahead?

Will folks be there for sure when you are passing through? Better check now and hold some tentative time. Do you have events you know your giver would enjoy attending? Better get on the calendar now.  Who (board, other staff, other donor) can drop a note or call saying, “Join me” to reinforce the date?

7. How do you check your progress?

Driving so many hours each day, getting to the next hotel stop….how is it going on this trip? Do you need more time for the stops along the way? Is the pace too slow or too fast for your giver?  What pace is comfortable for your giver yet assures you get there? (Not just chit chat and never ask.) Do they have other stops they would like to make or people they would like to meet that were not planned?  (We might call these “objections”, but given this scenario, doesn’t it seem like a silly word to use?)

8. What if you encounter detours?

A closed attraction, a torn up road, a new interest, delayed matching funds,  a new grandchild, a divorce, market turbulence, their work demands, different giving interest sparked, health hiccups, leadership changes…. Travel can be challenging.  Just reroute, reschedule – no drama. Just get back on track.

9. Ok, you are there! What makes this a great stop?

By taking this journey with you, your donor takes her success and sees this destination of significance where she can bask in the fulfillment of composing a good world.  WOW!

10. Do you want to go back there for another visit?

Or does another location look interesting now? I guess that depends on what happens AFTER the visit.  Do I ensure my giver continually sees photos and stories of our successful trip?  Does he hear how the place is continuing to delight other visitors?   Is the place changing, growing, improving, reinforcing, creating…..because of her visit? Then, of course, she will want to go back!  Or maybe instead, she is sparked at this stop by another destination…. Let’s get out the map!

Your trip is your Relationship Action Plan.  You see where you are going and reverse engineer AHEAD the places, people, experiences, and information that will get you to your destination (your major gift ask) and ready to experience it (say yes).

Metrics ensure you have MANY PEOPLE going on these trips. That means shutting off your phones and managing email (your two biggest time wasters and drama distractions).  It means providing clear, step-by-step directions and delegating as much as possible so you can focus on these journeys with your top donors.If your goal is to have the money required to BEST finance your programs, infrastructure, projects, and people, get out the map, buckle up and hit the road!  Expect some flat tires and know there’s no one to blame for them, just change them.  But DO take responsibility so you don’t run out of gas or blow up the engine because you failed to change the oil.  Let me hear you….


Yes, you do. Make yours GREAT – it is always your choice.

Honored to travel these roads with you.

Happy Travels!

Invest in Joy!

 Marcy Signature.jpg

Leave a Comment

Anti-Spam Quiz:

Previous post:

Next post: