The Mid Year Major Gift Check Up List Series of 5 – #1:Looking To See Who Has Been Left Behind

We’re approaching the middle of the calendar year and now is a good time to check in on how you are doing with the donors on your caseload.  Why the middle of the calendar year?  Because you are a mere six months away from the best giving part of the year and there is no time to waste in doing the additional analysis and planning to make sure that :

  1. You are on track with your donors – every one of them.  And it doesn’t matter if you are on a fiscal year that will be starting any second now.
  2. You are ready to make some bold asks during the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

I am going to address this checkup subject in five blog posts as follows:

  1. The Last Year vs. This Year Check, or “Looking to see who has been left behind”, the subject of today’s post.
  2. Do You Have Your Donors Tiered? – This is revisiting the subject that not all donors are the same and, now that you have more time under your belt with each of them, you should know a lot more about how to steward each of them.
  3. Upgrading the 20% – Here we’ll explore the subject of upgrading and what you should be doing and achieving to upgrade your good donors.
  4. Identifying TWO Donors to Give Big – I want to challenge you to find just two donors in your caseload with whom you will do something remarkable  in the next six months; donors who, if YOU do the right things, will do something remarkable with YOU.
  5. Are YOU Taking Care of Your Heart ?– This is a good time to check back in and ask yourself how you are doing in your own journey with the great cause you find yourself in.

So, that’s where we are going in the next five posts.

But today, I want to talk about “Looking to see who has been left behind”.  While this may seem like a fairly straightforward  thing to do, Jeff and I are constantly amazed at how many MGOs do not stop to take a look at which donors are “missing in action” from last year or the last cycle.

And all it takes is a mere tiny little report and an hour or so to scroll down the list and get yourself acquainted with those donors who were giving before but now have stopped.

The second you see that a donor has stopped giving or is missing a cycle, your curiosity should be fully engaged with the WHY question: “Why have you gone away?  What is going on with you?  Have we done something wrong?” , etc.

And your next impulse should be to pick up the phone and get in touch.  Don’t leave it till next week.  Get on it right now!  Here is why this is so important.

Sometimes a donor may change behavior, not because of any financial circumstance, but simply to check and see if he is missed and if the relationship and his giving is REALLY making a difference.  So he will pause, and then, upon not hearing a peep from the organization, will move on to where he can make a difference.

If that seems silly to you, think about it this way: if I, as a donor, matter only to you because of the money I can give you and you really don’t care about me or my need to express MY vision for the world through you, why should I feel connected to you or valued by you?  I shouldn’t.  And THAT, my friend, is the killer in our relationship.

But there are other circumstances that may cause a change in your good donors’ behavior; changes like a business failure, a lost job, a personal crisis – a number of things.

And think about how comforting it would be if you were in a difficult situation for the representative of your favorite charity to (a) miss you, (b) wonder about your changed giving behavior, and (c) understand and support the change you’ve made.  Wow!  It’s not just about the money!  Believe me, if this happened you would make a friend for life.

So, now is a good time to check in and see what’s going on with your donors and determine whether anyone has been left behind.  Stop and spend this time to do this important work.

Just like you may be wondering why you haven’t heard from that good friend of yours in a long time, your donor may be wondering if his or her relationship to you really matters.  Or something may have changed that he or she would feel relieved to talk about.

Now is not the time to be silent.  There’s a relationship to steward.



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!
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