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Dan Rice

Dan Rice

My Favorite Fundraiser Doesn’t Work for my Favorite Charity

Donors typically support 10 charities a year with most of their giving focused on approximately 4 charities, according to various surveys and studies. Now I’ve never worked for anybody’s favorite charity. I really couldn’t afford to have a scarcity mentality, where a fundraiser thinks that the entire donor’s giving just has to go to their organization. I was abundancy mentality all the way, baby.  

There is plenty for every organization the donor wants to give to, I thought. Why? Throughout my planned giving career I have worked for organizations that had 9 to 10 figure budgets. But remarkably, all of them had three other things in common too: 

  1. Each raised most of their funds by receiving many tiny gifts, on a monthly basis, from many donors. 
  2. All of them didn’t start up a principal and major gifts department until they had been in existence for 20 years or longer.  
  3. They all started these departments when they began receiving more and more “lumpy” gifts from maverick donors, who were ignoring the tiny asks and were offering assets other than cash. 

Abundance Mentality

Donor-centric fundraisers are trained to have an abundance mentality. They foster donor relationships that empower donors to discover and give to charities and charitable projects and programs that are aligned with the donor’s natural and learned passions. Specifically to those organizations that carry out their work with recognized best practices. Once we are acting more like the donor’s philanthropy coach, we have locked down on our abundance mentality. Mission accomplished. Now go reward yourself and get an ice cream, coach! 

Here’s the thing. Maybe the abundance mentality is just another a gooey sentiment, if it doesn’t drive the fundraiser to be a catalyst for creating for the donor an abundance reality.  

The 7% Wealth

You see, the abundance mentality won’t change the fact that most millionaires have only about 7% of their wealth in cash. But creating an abundance reality is what makes our abundance mentality even possible. Abundance reality occurs when we are helping donors to create newfound discretionary income, mostly through the monetization of illiquid assets and the resulting tax savings—especially when the charitable deductions that came from a lumpy gift of assets didn’t require any cash to create the charitable tax savings! 

A great place to develop your abundance mentality skills is by learning as much as you can from the planned giving website. And one of their most powerful tools is also the one most simple to use: The Cash versus Stock Gift Calculator. Actually, it’s really easy to think outside the box and use this calculator for any long-term appreciated asset that can be compared.  

What’s also cool about being the abundance reality fundraiser to your donors is that sometimes, a very nice chunk of this new discretionary income will be given to your organization.  

So, even though you may not work for the donor’s favorite organization, you can still be their favorite fundraiser. Their abundance reality fundraiser. 

Here’s what I’ve learned that the most successful people are doing:

  1. They are making time count — not counting time. This hit me hard after my cancer diagnosis. Read it twice. 
  2. Their daily to-do lists are made the night before. Their weekly lists by Sunday evening.
  3. They are at work early, and they leave late. This buys them the ticket to take off when they want.
  4. They are not hanging out by the water cooler (unless they are discussing the next major gift), nor waiting 20 minutes in line at lunch for their fancy coffee and chatting with their favorite barista.
  5. They are not posting articles that bemoan how rate changes or tax laws will spell gloom and doom for generations of nonprofits to come.
  6. They do not labor over politics; they leave their egos at home.
  7. They study thepeople business— not the legal business.
  8. They do not have call reluctance. A simple phone call and a “hello” to a donor can change someone’s life that very day.
  9. All electronic notifications are shut off if they need to focus on a critical task. This includes closing the door to avoid colleagues who are time vampires.
  10. They follow the80/20 priority rule. Oh boy, do priorities count! And they make a huge difference when it comes to Tip No. 1. If you are not familiar with the 80/20 rule, study it. Otherwise, you’ll remain where you are in your career. 

Unsucessful people are on the sidelines waiting for something to happen in their lives. That is, they are “killing time.” But you can never kill time — that’s a fact of life. Time kills you. So, go on and make it count before it counts you! I promise, you’ll be successful – whether a fundraiser or in another career – if you commit to these timeless tips.

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.