The Monopoly Mentality—Why it Kills Major Gifts—Part II

Okay, last time I talked about the Monopoly Mentality or mindset, which is essentially that we think we’re the only game in town and we have no sense of urgency or “service mentality” toward our donors.

You don’t want to be in that place with your major gift program.  Instead you need to be thinking at all times, “how can I delight my donors.”  This must drive you everyday.

So, I started with three ways to avoid this “monopoly mentality” so that you can serve your donors outrageously.  Here are a few more:

  1. Be Curious—a great major donor professional is always curious about their donors.  If you are curious about your donors you will be constantly trying to understand who they are, what they are passionate about and why they give.  I’m not just talking about in the context for how they give to your organization.  You want to know about their business, what clubs and organizations they belong to, what their kids are involved in and who their friends are.  No, not because you are a voyeur, but because this will lead to meaningful ways in which to serve your donors outrageously.
  2. Constantly link your mission with your donor–Remember if part of your mission is the work you do with your donors and helping them achieve great things through your organization, then you need to find ways to get them involved.  Invite your donor to a board retreat to help in strategic planning.  Invite them to participate in your programs.  Have them visit work you are doing overseas or in the laboratory.  Seek their advice on creating a new project.  This is why your job is difficult, yet so rewarding.
  3. Think outside the box. Now, this is going to sound very counter-intuitive, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Your donors have many passions around their giving.  Of course not all of them center on your organization.  If you know of another organization that will meet that passion you should offer to introduce them to another organization.  What?  Are you kidding me, Jeff?  No, I’m not.  The whole goal is to understand and know your donor.  If you know a philanthropic passion of your donor and you know how to meet it but it happens to be outside your own organization, you need to recommend it.  Remember “Miracle on 34th Street?”  Remember when business started to boom for Macy’s?  When they started putting the customer first even if that meant sending them to Gimbles if they didn’t have the product.  Remember to watch it this season and get inspired!
  4. Create Community—what do I mean?  I mean, bring your donors together to network and get to know one another.  Part of your job is to broker relationships with donors.  Recently, one of our clients had a weekend getaway for 8 couples to learn more about what the organization was doing with a new program they were starting.  Those donors over the course of that weekend bonded and have become friends.  Business partnerships were formed and these folks had such a good time they now want to get together regularly.  All brought together by the same organization.  It’s been incredible.  This is a great way to foster good will with your donors and let them know YOU are thinking of them.

Okay, there you go.  I would love to hear some ideas from you.  Yes, I’m trying to create community too.  We have a lot of great people reading this blog, and I want us to share ideas.

Oh, I promised you something inspiring as well.  I found a quote I think you’ll like:

“ A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”  
Mahatma Gandhi

If you use these words of wisdom with your donors you will do well.  Now go serve them outrageously.

Jeff

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About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
This entry was posted in Development Directors, Donor-Centered, Major Gift Officers, Major Gifts, Non-Profits, Philanthopy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Monopoly Mentality—Why it Kills Major Gifts—Part II

  1. Kent Schell says:

    I, too, have had some great experiences with the idea of “create community.” In fact in some instances it may be more important to enhance small networks of relationships with donors/prospects than to focus solely on our own uni-dimensional relationship with them.
    Kent

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