Swing for singles. Don’t swing for home runs.
There is so much pressure on major gift officers in our profession today. “We need a big gift and we need it NOW!”
You are nodding your head as you read this because it pretty much sums up the feeling you get. You don’t have the time you need to develop the relationship to the point where that big gift is realistic. It’s a major issue.
Or, you want the recognition, the “high,” that comes from reeling in that big gift. We all do.
Can I gently offer this thought? Be out making your visits as often as you can and, as often as you can, be asking for a $1,000 gift. Or a $2,500 gift. Whatever the floor of your annual special gifts club may be. That’s what I mean by swinging for singles, not for home runs.
We need the practice, we need the experience of asking for a gift, over and over again, and the experience of getting a “yes.” You dramatically increase your chances of getting a “yes” by asking for lots and lots of $1,000 gifts. You understand how to build a relationship with a donor, raise their sights, and cultivate their interest in a gift project when you ask for $1,000 gifts.
When I talk with a fundraiser and he or she tells me they’ve raised 40 new $1,000 gifts for their organization in the past year, I am mightily impressed. The process of asking for that gift is virtually the same as asking for a gift of $100,000. Plus, that fundraiser is showing me their focus on just being out, engaging in the process.
Fundraisers who are “swinging for singles” is getting the practice and building the confidence that will serve them well when they eventually see that “home run pitch.”
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