The Holy Grail for many nonprofits is the angel donor, the major, big major, investment -level gift. The annual fund, special events and membership revenues are, of course, critical to day-in, day-out survival, but many of us really hope for the ‘big’ gift. This is the funding allows for additional staff, facilities, materials and the other essential elements of running a strong organization and delivering the change we seek.
The conventional wisdom holds that providing metrics and data to support the work you have done is critical for donor confidence. The donor needs to feel their gift is making a tangible difference for your cause. But what else would someone need to know to allow them to make the jump to a really significant donation: one that covers that unsexy, but oh so necessary ‘overhead’?
Data and metrics are important, but…….
There are three less measurable, but no less visible, elements of how your nonprofit works that are necessary to attract major gifts. That donor needs to see who is minding the store and what they bring to the organization, not for the next campaign, but overall for the stakeholders and its future.
· Leadership: The chief executive has to demonstrate true competence at the basic tasks of running a smoothly running shop: systems are well conceived and operational. The CEO/ E.D. needs to be able to inspire prospects to show they have a firm grip on the operations, are nimble in the face of inevitable challenges, and are truly committed to the advancement of the organization over the long term.
· Goals and Objectives: Clarity here requires weaving together the long term vision statement with your current programming. It is showing how that marriage of present and future will allow the organization to realize its vision. The donor must be assured the the road does indeed go toward the desired objective, and that current and planned activities will support that achievement.
· Vision for the future: Any big deal donor wants to invest in your vision for the future. That means more than improving how things are now, it means materially affecting whatever challenge you are facing: it is what the world would be like as your organization achieves its vision. There has to be more than hope, there must a be clear picture of the future we desire. That vision must be more than handwaving; it must be something that donor can truly visualize and feel is achievable.
Sure, numbers are clear and unambiguous, that can be quite comforting, and especially when they illustrate the good work you are doing. Don’t dump data, but remember it can often be that the whole is greater than the sum its parts. This understanding will allow you to provide a compelling case to the big gift donor providing the best combination of the present and future of what you are doing.
Acknowledging and sharing these qualities will inspire trust in your organization, which is the fundamental basis of a strong donor relationship.
I’ll bet you have more of this than you realize. Need some help defining them to share with others ? Call us 310 828 6979, we’d love to help you show off what you can do.