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Benjamin R. Case

Benjamin R. Case

CEO and Senior Consultant Focused On Fundraising, Inc.

Why Are You Seeing That Woman?

No one else on the fundraising staff had visited Ms. RWITA (Richest-Woman-in-the-Area). I figured, why not me? I called her and introduced myself, and she agreed to a visit. It was a nice visit—nothing spectacular, but certainly pleasant.

Upon returning to my office, I told my colleague Don about visiting Ms. RWITA. Don had worked for this nonprofit for years in many positions and was then serving in a “friend-raising” role. He was a little…well…let’s just say he was direct, and his deep smoker’s voice just added impact. “Why in the world are you seeing that woman?” he asked. “The president should be seeing her, not some lowly staff member like you.”

Humbled, I reported the details of my visit to our organization’s president the next day and encouraged him to visit Ms. RWITA. He did. In December came her first gift of $100,000. No letter, just a check in an envelope. Those gifts continued for a few years, and the president kept building his relationship with her. In due time, Ms. RWITA was sending annual gifts of $1 million and more. Always in an envelope with no letter, just the check.

This is a lesson a lot of young fundraisers (and some old ones, too) need to learn: Don’t worry about who gets the credit – just get the gift. Always give your best donors the attention they deserve. Invite the right people to be involved—the president, volunteers, close advisors. Your donors will appreciate this and come to trust you, as will your organization’s leaders. Over time, this selfless judgment will pay off, and you will build a reputation as an excellent fundraiser. Most importantly, your donors will be happy and your nonprofit will raise more money.

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.