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Albert Russo

Albert Russo

Al is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has worked in international business, public health and 27 years in Advancement.

Advice to New MGOs

Remember: It’s not about you.

New major gift officers still building their confidence in the field sometimes ask, “Why would people give to me, talk to me, or agree to meet with me?”

I tell them, “They don’t. It’s not about you.  You represent the organization. That’s who they’re meeting with. And you need to present yourself accordingly.”

Work for Organizations You Respect.

MGOs are uniquely positioned to direct resources toward projects they believe in.  Even tough businesspeople change when they put their charitable hat on because their image of themselves says, “I’m doing good things, making the world better.” If you present your institution well, it will interest them.

You Are the “Proud Beggar.”

Two things I learned from my work in sales:

  • Never expect them to come to me.
  • Never expect them to call me back.

For this reason, my first meeting with donors is always in their offices or homes. Since I am the one who wants something, I go to them.

Cultivate Long-Term Relationships.

In U.S. culture, we talk about pretty much everything right off the bat – except money.

As fundraisers, we get that topic out of the way early on, and it is almost inevitable that real relationships with donors will follow because we are both interested in and passionate about the same things.

Make the Most of Your Time on the Road.

Once you secure a meeting, stay in communication about your plans so that you keep that meeting in their minds and there is no chance they will be unavailable when you arrive. Once I’m in a city for one meeting, I also see who else I can visit while I’m there to maximize my time on the University’s dollar.

Love what you do because you won’t always get recognition.

Don’t become an MGO if you are someone who needs accolades and a spotlight. You are working behind the scenes and need to know the intrinsic value of what you are doing without getting constant affirmation and appreciation. I believe in the transformative power of education and the payback is the success of projects for which I find funding.

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.