Six New Year’s Resolutions that will Change Your Life…or at least make you a better major gift officer–#1 Serve your donor, don’t Sell them.

As you prepare to say goodbye to 2011 and welcome in 2012, I thought now would be a good time to suggest some New Year’s resolutions that can take you from being a good major gift officer and development professional to a GREAT one.

These six resolutions are not going to be like the ones you always break, such as exercising more, eating less, being a nicer person (just kidding, I’m sure you’re nice already).  These are the six you are going to keep!

I promise that if you make these resolutions, stick to them and see them through, 2012 will be an incredible year for you, your donors and your organization.

So let’s get into them.

#1—Serve your donor, don’t sell them.

Between today and the new year,  Richard and I want you to find an Apple Store, walk in and observe what goes on.  Sure, if you want to buy a last minute gift, or buy yourself that new i-Pad, go ahead…but I want you to look around and observe how their customer service representatives interact with customers.

Recently I had a software problem with my MacBook Pro laptop.  I took my computer over to the “Genius Bar” to get some help.  As I approached the desk, a young man with an i-Pad came over to me and asked if I had a reservation.  “No, I don’t…can I still get in?” I asked.  “No problem.  I’ll make an appointment for you.  We can see you in 15 minutes. Why don’t you look around and I’ll text you when you’re up.”

Nice!   So I looked around and started playing with the i-Pads.  Soon, a salesperson cames over, but instead of hitting me over the head with his sales pitch, he immediately  asked me what I do, what I’m interested in, why I might be interested in the iPad, etc.  I asked about all the features, the differences in iPads and why this might be a better machine then a laptop or a Kindle.

The salesperson answered all my questions, asked more questions about my computing habits and told me the positive and negative attributes of a Kindle.  Yes, he told me the good things about the Kindle!

Then, I asked him point blank, “Why are you not trying to sell this thing to me?.”  He said he was there to make my experience the best it could be, show me the product and let the product sell itself.  “We don’t get commission on sales”, he said.  “It’s all about serving the needs of the customer.”

I didn’t buy the iPad that night, nor were they able to fix my software problem (it was a Microsoft product), but I left feeling so good about my experience that I can’t think about NOT buying an Apple product in the future.  The folks there were attentive, helpful and passionate about the products they had available.

This is YOUR #1 resolution for 2012.

Everything you do this coming year has to be about serving your donor.  If you can get that right, good things will happen.

Now, this is EASY to say, but in practice very HARD to do.  It takes planning, discipline and constant vigilance to SERVE your donor.

During the course of your weeks, which then turns into months, you can get caught up in chasing goals, new prospects and that giant hairball I’ve talked about.  You forget about how to serve the donor.

Here is what you can do.  Take a piece of paper and a Sharpie pen and in bold letters write, “Serve the Donor” and put it up above your computer screen.  Every morning that will be your reminder to consider your first priority.

Another thing you will find helpful is to ensure your boss or colleague know that this is something you are working on.  I always find it helpful to have someone hold me accountable…right, Richard?

I’m telling you that if you’re finding you have to “sell” your programs, organization or project to donors, you’ve already lost.  However, if you are truly “serving” your donors, you will understand what brings them passion and present projects and programs they will find joy in.

Yes!  Serve the Donor.  What a great way to start the New Year!



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 Donor-Centered, Major Gift Officers, Philanthopy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Six New Year’s Resolutions that will Change Your Life…or at least make you a better major gift officer–#1 Serve your donor, don’t Sell them.

  1. Pingback: How Are Your Plans Coming Along?—1st Quarter Check-In | Passionate Giving

  2. Pingback: How Are Your Plans Coming Along?—1st Quarter Check-In | Passionate Giving

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