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Gary L. Bukowski, MA, CFRE

Gary L. Bukowski, MA, CFRE

Associate Vice President of Development
Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center

The Power of a Long-Term Donor Relationship

A couple with whom I have worked for over four decades – and across three institutions – recently made a major gift to us at the Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. It was an incredible, much-needed boost when COVID-19 was on the rise, and it was the result of years of communication.  

Knowing these donors well enabled me to steer them towards a giving opportunity that they genuinely cared about. When I called to thank them and let them know how much we appreciated their generosity, I chatted with our donor’s wife, who told me about her frustration regarding not being able to read to the kids at the children’s center in person at that time. She told me that she felt impelled to make a gift to help the children’s center with library books and art programs, because it was the best way she could think of to help under the current circumstances.

Trust grows over time.

Building long-term relationships with donors and listening attentively to their stories over time teaches gift officers what these donors care about. This kind of regular communication positions fundraisers to recognize which giving opportunities are likely to resonate most with particular donors. In the end, little has more potential value to a nonprofit than the trust and understanding that comes from sustained relationships between fundraisers and major donors. 


By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.