It’s 2022 Now what? Creating a Joyful Giver

by Marcy Heim on January 12, 2022

Ta da ta da……CHARGE!

Let the new year BEGIN!


You now have a new year to create joyful givers to partner with you to do your good in the world!  There’s nothing better!  Congrats to you for finishing up 2021 and bravely jumping in to greet what this year brings!

Creating a Joyful Giver Webinar

Yesterday I shared “Creating a Joyful Giver” for Crescendo’s Practical Planned Giving Conference. Great experience! While I provided a ton of information, here are just a very few highlights.  The key message:

Now is the time...

Simone Joyaux, a key fundraising guru we lost tragically last year to a brain aneurism said, “Use whatever word you want… but always remember this: Donors give through your organization to fulfill their own aspirations. Do you know my aspirations? Do you know my philanthropic story?” 

In a nutshell, Creating a Joyful Giver is:

Creating a Joyful Giver – Everything YOU do 

(experiences, notes, calls, etc)

to help a prospective or current or disenfranchised giver

better understand everything “you” do!

This includes the usual stuff you already know.  This year’s tweak is the word, “meet.”  Meet used to be in-person much of the time.  Now “meet” is open to a whole new world of possibility! However – remember this – “meet” still means in the best way for the GIVER – NOT YOU. It’s not about what’s easier for you, it’s what is BEST FOR THE RELATIONSHIP!  Don’t be lazy and send a video tour when there is no reason they can’t come in. 

Some typical examples….Send/email photos, tours-in person and video, “meet” with leadership, Program Staff, other donors, a recipient, key staff and others. Perhaps host a micro event 6-20 of current donors to brainstorm!  And sure…send the newsletter.

Here’s what is important.

ASK YOURSELF – Does what I am doing help the giver answer the question, “What gift would make me joyful?”

Here are 8 results EVERY cultivation touch should accomplish!

 1. Gives folks permission to give to what brings them joy.

(this is true for gifts for sponsorships, annual fund, specific program, anonymous gift, name a building, NOT part of the campaign list)

Too often we talk to donors about OUR needs, our list, our priorities. Yes, we need to be clear on our options for giving.  We also need to be open to what is in a donor’s heart and work with them to blend what brings them joy with our needs. 

2. Seeks to understand what is important to the giver.

In everything we do….that sentence that says…”What brings YOU Joy in supporting us?” needs to be a part of it.

3. Respects that givers interests change over time.

Giving may change or stop. While there are LOTS of reasons for this – illness, new relationship, kids no longer involved, changes in wealth, etc – it’s important to reassure a donor we are FOREVER grateful for their investment with us and we look to keeping them part of our family – whatever that looks like. 

4. Deepens a giver’s knowledge of mission impact.

Everything we do should speak to a result we have accomplished – as simple (and CRUCIAL) as changing a life, to completing a room on the new building wing and what will happen in that wing.

5. Creates a treasured memory.

When someone is giving you money, understand that they long for a deeper relationship (note – HOW this relationship looks is different for every major donor).  What seems like a simple act to you can have meaningful results. Keep your “feelings” meter at the ready and don’t just go through the motions because you’ve done it 100 times.

6. Includes group and individual actions. (Micro events)

Massive galas and events are going away – I hope – you know I never was a big fan.  I DO hope we will use this an a chance for hybrid experiences and smaller “micro-events.” People DO connect differently in person and as soon as we can get back to in-person the better. But please may we finally drop measuring success on attendance and bigger is better?  For major gifts, it’s not.  Even major universities are having multiple capital campaign celebration events instead of 1000 folks in the room. My dad used to say, “You could drop dead and no one would find you until the next morning!” meaning you were just a body in the room – nothing special.

7. Defines what the money will do – ALWAYS IMPACT.

It’s not about the money, it’s always about what the money does (the building, the program, the annual fund, support the food bank, whatever) and REALLY does (lift up a person, bring people together, feed a person, keep someone in school, deepen a walk to faith)

8. Creates a constellation for the giver.

Sky stars

I like to think of Creating a Joyful Giver as putting the stars into a constellation that when completed (we’ve found the gift that brings them joy) LIGHTS up the sky with a picture of them/their support.  Corny…but how I have looked at it.  Each touch that brings them closer to the completed constellation is a step closer to knowing what their major gift will look like.

Invest in JOY®

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