Why not?

on in Fundraising

The top three reasons donors don’t give, as reported in a recent US Trust survey of high net worth individuals and related philanthropic advisors?

1) They feared their gift wouldn’t be used wisely

2) They had no connection to the charity

3) They didn’t want to be on a solicitation list

The good news: each of these negatives can be pre-addressed, as it were, by the charity – before the actual approach.

The bad news: if we don’t address these concerns, we’ll likely get a “no.”

 (If we even get our foot in the door…which is increasingly unlikely with the proliferation of “gatekeepers” surrounding people of high net worth.)

Reasons 1 and 2 are actually related – the more the prospect knows the charity, and sees its impact, the more likely he or she will feel reassured that their gift will be used to good effect. Tours, occasions to be of service, meetings with program participants – all are opportunities to address this concern, which comes as much from the heart as it is about numbers.

In these situations, getting the door open for such direct exposure – of the prospect to the program – is a necessary (but not sufficient, of course) prerequisite to any conversation about a gift.

Reason 3 is why people may hold back from making a one-time gift (which might be considered when someone close to the prospect is being honored, or another reason closely related to who’s asking)…fearing a floodgate of repeated solicitations will open up.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Gift-of-money.jpgOnce you’re on a list, not only do you get hit up on a community basis, you get hit up on a national basis,” explained a donor in a NY Times story last Fall about the report.

The answer to this concern? Of course there’s the option for anonymous giving, and barring that, offering assurance that the donor’s name won’t be circulated – but with the web nowadays, information about anyone who makes any public gift is pretty readily available.

More addressable is the concern that the donor will now be considered a major giver to your nonprofit and re-solicited as such, when they really only meant to honor the work of a friend.

The answer: “We understand this gift is being made because of your relationship with Sally. We hope that we can keep you informed about our work and that if you do become intrigued with the impact we’re having, that you might consider a gift in its own right, but we understand that the gift we’re talking about today is coming from a different place.

And then – see the answer to #s 1 and 2…

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