I was recently speaking with my colleague Tina Yoon about a tour of a health clinic in a poor neighborhood. The tour inspired her to start supporting the clinic. I asked her what made the tour so special, and she said, “The doctor who spoke during the tour was a pillar of the community. I felt honored that he would spend time with us.” This was many years ago, but it made a big impression on Tina.
A major DC philanthropist did a tour of a major multi-faceted social service agency, and promised $20,000 — $10,000 unrestricted, and $10,000 for whatever the man who ran the tour (director of a teen drop in center) wanted. The executive director had a conniption fit, as you might imagine, about a staff person several rungs down the chain of command being empowered to direct contributions. Nonetheless, something that man did captured the heart of the philanthropist, who wanted to empower him to do more. That’s a good thing.
Who are the people in your organization who have the power to make donors feel special?