Beyond donating

Yesterday I was at a fundraising breakfast. One board member stood at the podium and announced that her company had made a $100,000 pledge.

I was seated at the table of another board member, and everyone else at the table worked for his company.  When the pitch was made, he suggested to his employees that, if they want to give, they do it through payroll deduction, because the company would match their gifts.

I thought “This is an organization with momentum.”  These board members are going so far beyond donating.

How recently has you sat down with each of your board members to find out how they would like to support your mission?  You may be amazed at what you learn.


The big ask and the big answer

I was videotaping one of my first clients yesterday talking about her first visit with a couple who had given steadily increasing gifts every year, as much as $5,000.  After a lovely conversation, mostly about their family, the husband was driving her back to her hotel.  He mentioned that in at his first job, he was required to buy Berkshire Hathaway A stock, and he got a big stack of them.  Before she got out of the car, she said, “I am going to ask you for a gift, and it’s going to be a large amount.”  His response: “you can ask me for anything you want, and how we respond, we’ll see.”  She sent a thank you note when she got back home, with a $100,00 ask.  They said yes.  And they have been giving gifts in that range for the past 8 years, totaling $1.4 million.  The big ask paid off.

The thing that jumped out at me was his response to her pre-solicitation.  “You can ask me for whatever you want.”  Isn’t that liberating?  When we ask for a gift, we don’t have to know how a donor will answer.  There are dozens of factors, and we can’t even imagine many of them.  All we can do is produce the best ask we can.  After that, “we’ll see.”