A guest post from Tripp Braden, of Developing Serving Leaders
You don’t know me, but I help nonprofits attract larger gifts for their organizations.
Many of my clients and partners are some of the world’s most successful philanthropists. They give billions of dollars to nonprofits every year. Several are members of The Giving Pledge.
I expect even more to make significant gifts to nonprofits as they move from active business leadership towards their retirement and the second acts of their lives.
Here’s why most of the corporate leaders I know believe it’s important to reinvest in our society.
Why the Biggest Givers Give
One part of my business practice helps my clients deal with creating a lasting leadership legacy that continues for generations. I challenge my best clients to make a difference in the world; it doesn’t end when they retire. I have also given gifts that have exceeded six figures. These gifts helped organizations get significant additional gifts that exceeded eight figures.
Dennis asked me to share what I know about the world’s most dedicated givers. I hope to help you better understand what my affluent clients might look for when they invest their money in your nonprofit.
Excite Them about Your Mission
Let me give you three ideas that can help you get more money and engagement from men and women who can make a gift that changes your organization forever.
The first opportunity to connect with more affluent givers starts with your mission. Most nonprofits struggle when it comes to defining their mission. Let me rephrase that: most nonprofits are very active in being all things to all people. They think what big donors are looking for are big numbers. They believe the bigger the numbers, the greater the chance they will find the big gift.
My experience is the clearer you are on your mission and how you plan to help your community, the better you are positioned to find the right people to support your organization.
Your mission cannot only be on the plaque in your offices. It must be understood and shared with every person who works in your organization.
The Mission Driven Donor
Most successful entrepreneurs are mission driven. If you want to better understand how they see the world, ask them what their mission was when they started their own organization. I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur who didn’t see a business in their mind before they started their organization.
To get people to understand your mission, you must help them connect the dots between their gift and your mission. It is critical that you appeal to the best parts of who they are when nurturing a relationship with a larger contributor.
Most entrepreneurs have strongly held ideas on almost everything. To me, this means you must be willing to stand up and share what you believe. They will be attracted to both your passion and your purpose.
What if they don’t agree on your position? Be willing to advocate it, but also listen to why they feel the way they do. It gives you clues on who they are and how they may be able to help your culture grow to the next level.
I’ll give you the other two ideas on how to connect with more affluent givers in my next post, on Thursday. See you then.
Des Walsh says
Good advice Tripp. Your comments about donors being mission driven prompts me to reflect that it is not unusual for people in non-profits (and my experience here is largely in the arts sector) to be disrespectful of business people – stereotypes of money-grubbing, environmental recklessness etc.
With such attitudes it is surely a challenge, at best, for the non-profit people to consider seriously that the people they are approaching could have the kind of high minded view of the world they attribute to themselves.
In that case, my expectation would be that the nonprofits would not be asking or listening, or not with any real empathy, about the prospective donor’s mission or vision.
Non profits like donors to see the passion and commitment of the nonprofits, but as your post makes clear it is a much more potentially productive situation when the donor’s passion and commitment are also understood and welcomed by the non profits.
Especially for any hope of a long term relationship.