Culture of philanthropy requires a shift in thinking, from transactional giving to relational giving.
By Steve Smith
What makes a donor relationship good or authentic? The same thing that makes any relationship good or authentic.
In the “Relationship Continuum” there are three types -
- Adversarial: Participants are less happy, effective and productive than they would be without the relationship.
- Neutral: Participants are equally happy, effective and productive as they would be without the relationship.
- Synergistic: Participants are more happy, effective and productive then they would be without the relationship.
I guess most fundraisers would pick door number three – synergistic. But to get to this synergy, you have to first understand the difference between charity and philanthropy. In a context of charity, it’s about money. In a philanthropic context, it’s about mission. Another contrast – in charity, it’s about a short-term crisis. In philanthropy, it’s about long-term vision. Charity: Impulsive giving. Philanthropy: Thoughtful investment. Charity: Short-lived satisfaction. Philanthropy: Satisfying outcome.
There is a similar contrast in donors. There are transactional donors, and relational donors. The transactional donor dislikes involvement. She’s happy to write a check, but please don’t ask her to attend your event or serve on a committee. The transactional donor gives to be social. The relational donor wants deep involvement, and gives to make change. More importantly, the transactional donor will not solicit others, but the relational donor will invite others to join.
In the cultivation of major donor prospects, think “Long” and “Deep”
“Long” is the perspective offered to major donor prospects. Thinking long requires purpose and intentionality, patience and planning. “Deep” is the level of engagement for major donor prospects. Going deep requires non risk-aversion leadership, best-in-class expertise and more time from leadership
But what does tangible donor engagement look like?
Kerry’s presentation breaks it down to two kinds – psychological and tangible.
- Relationship the donor BELIEVES they have with the organization
- How warmly a donor feels toward the organization
- Survey measures –we have to ASK
- Intensity of participation (time and resources)
- There are behavioral measures that we can see
Kerry finished up by asking the group: What are the best practices you are going to employ in 2019 to move you toward that donor-relationship accomplishment? That’s a great question. I’m hoping you will consider deeply engaging storytelling to ignite the passion in those “major donors-in-waiting.”
Many thanks to Kerry for a very engaging presentation. It helped our AFP chapter finish off 2018 in a very memorable way. You can reach Kerry by phone at (772) 538-0659 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.