3 Problems All Major Gift Fundraisers Face

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ROG Insights: 3 Problems All Major Gift Fundraisers Face That Return on Good Can Fix

The ROG Team

As the first collaborative to serve both donors and fundraisers, we created Facilitated Giving and The Giving Story to make philanthropy easier, more strategic and to maximize the joy of giving. Part of our inspiration is what we experienced as fundraisers and heard from our major gift fundraiser friends. Fundraising is hard, and there are three key challenges that have been around forever. Here they are, and how ROG fixes them.

Fundraisers have no time to find new givers, so they miss key opportunities

Man and woman sit at her desk happily talking and referencing papers in both sets of hands.

The standard plan for fundraisers is to be assigned a big pool of potential major givers. These names can come from the group that gives annually, or from people who have interacted with the cause in the past: like volunteers, alumni, and community leaders. These pools can be in the hundreds, and fundraisers are both pretty bad at updating their lists, and never get to talk with everyone in any given year.  That’s natural, because as soon as a fundraiser finds a major donor, they’ll shift into planning mode, and work with the donor to document the gift, which can take weeks, if not months. A really good fundraiser at a great cause can quickly be overwhelmed, even when it’s because they’re having success.  The result is that fundraisers have almost no time to listen for new givers, who are not already on their list. And donors are busy too, so a lot of strategic giving opportunities go unexplored. Fundraisers keep talking to the same people, and donors just keep giving modest amounts, participating, but never making the transformative leap to a big, strategic gift.  ROG Facilitated Giving fixes this by matching the key strategic goals of a cause to the passion and strategy of donors, by doing research on both. When we find a match, we connect the charity and the donor, and the result is an opportunity that moves fast, to make a major impact.

Fundraisers worry about offending a donor, and can take years getting to the real giving opportunity

One of the biggest concerns that fundraisers have shared with us is their fear of upsetting a loyal donor: by asking too soon, for too much, or for the wrong thing. Even after the gift, fundraisers worry about the right ways to thank a donor.  The partnerships behind great giving stories eventually figure it all out, but it can take a ton of time, and it’s stressful for both fundraisers and donors. So, what if you knew exactly how much a donor is ready to give, where they want to have an impact, what stats and proof they need, and how they want to be thanked? The result could be speeding up the giving to less than a third of the normal time. This is huge for donors, fundraisers and causes, because when we remove friction in the giving process, the good gets to the people in need more quickly, and strategically.  Worrying about offending a donor by moving too fast or suggesting the wrong thing is a good instinct. After all, you’re asking for a gift, and you don’t want to blow it. So, tag us in, and we’ll come to the table with the awkward conversations already done in a low pressure environment, and help you match with big givers more naturally.

Fundraisers struggle to tell the giving story with limited resources

Everyone on the ROG team has been thanked by charities, and it’s usually sort of…underwhelming. Or, it can be annoying, as we watch a charity spend their scarce resources and time trying to get it right with us, rather than using resources for the cause we’ve just supported. This is probably the fastest way to annoy a donor and lose future gifts.  It can get even worse when the charity tries to write a story or make a video about a donor’s impact. Too often, these stewardship and publicity pieces rarely get to the “why,” And of course there are organizations who don’t even have the resources to do these things. That’s okay, because they’re in the business of doing good, not marketing.  That’s where we come in. Each ROG Giving Story donor comes with a compelling narrative on why and how they’ve given, and our video features are produced in a way that a cause can use them immediately, or work with us to select sections that highlight strategic giving in a way that spotlights the impact to your cause.  Think of us as the stewardship “easy button.” You’ll know how, and in what way every ROG donor wants to be thanked, so you can spend your scarce resources inspiring the next generation of givers through their story.  Are you a fundraiser who faces these challenges? Drop us a line. We’ll create an ROG Research Report about your charity for free, and introduce you to strategic givers who can help meet your mission goals.  For more information on how Return on Good can help you give smarter with more impact, connect with Jay at Jay@returnongood.org.