Lately, I have been spending a lot of my time working with a client that is the midst of a capital and endowment campaign. It’s been an amazing journey for this client as they have raised more money than ever before AND they secured the largest gift they have ever realized in their long history of service and good work. Truly, a lot to celebrate!
The team has followed a carefully crafted plan to get us to our finish line…and we are getting so close! But, not without some bumps along the way. As this business in working with our donors is all about relationships, I am reminded that some things – good and bad – are simply out of our control. Even the best laid plans experience a curve ball here and there.
One particular bump in the road came when a donor had shared with us that he would make a significant gift to the campaign, but, when push came to shove, he decided his interest in increasing his current annual support was more important to him than backing the campaign. While this was a bit of a blow to us at first…we realized that this wasn’t really a bad thing. That this “NO” was actually a good thing! The campaign afforded us the opportunity to get to know this donor even better. Truly, we further cultivated his relationship with the organization, and while our hope was that he would give to the campaign, he became more engaged in the current mission. At this time in his life, he wanted to see some of the impact that his gift would make on those the organization served. But, he also shared another important tidbit…while he wanted to see the difference his gifts made today, he also wanted to ensure the future of the organization. In fact, he told us that he had named this organization as a beneficiary in his estate plans.
This situation reminded all of us on the team that, in the end, we need to ensure that our donor’s intention is our top priority. That sometimes, while WE see our biggest needs as one thing, our donors may not see it the same way that we do. We can have the best case for support, the best laid plans, but, at the end of the day, it’s up to us to connect our donors with the opportunities and programs that inspire them.
by: Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant HUB Philanthropic Solutions