Yes, our donors have plenty to think about so consider how to approach their concerns with positive responses. Here are a few “likely suspected worries” that most donors might feel, but probably won’t actually discuss:
This appears to question the percentage of overhead expenses as a part of every gift dollar. But don’t take it as a criticism. You run your business as a lean machine, and most of them no doubt understand that. So minimize this “worry” by giving some stories about actual beneficiaries. Real stories, with pictures if possible, and the most persuasive. Not statistics, not huge need and not what you could do with more money. Just the impact of your everyday, ordinary good work.
“My own personal situation is quite tight just now and the only place I can save is by eliminating my charitable contributions,” says Emily.
We know this to be the case with many of our donors. So now is the time to discuss a gift in estate plans. What a perfect time to discuss options for a planned gift. How about a campaign to be included in your best donors’ will. It’s much easier to increase your contributions if you don’t have to have them all in cash and all now.
“I love both the music society and the local theater group. Isn’t there some way for them to coordinate so my gift goes further?” says Ferdinand.
Now is the time to gather your colleagues and see if there aren’t some mutual benefits by working together. Don’t tell me you’re stretched too thin, no time, not enough staff, etc. etc. That’s the very reason working together could help you all. Brad brings his nonprofits together several times a year to see if they aren’t “Better Together” and there’s no doubt that the spin off from these meetings results in lots of ways to share and coordinate. The struggling Ferdinand would probably be ecstatic if a collaboration of some kind demonstrated that you feel his pain.
Step out of your own problems and think about your donors. In fact, you could always have a few of them in for coffee and discuss this topic. Sometimes donors have really great ideas. And even more often, in small groups they may find ways to work together themselves!
For more tips on endowment education, as well as nonprofit funding, administration and management, subscribe to Endowment Development Institute's Newsletter here.