When do you feel the need to act most urgently during the gift giving process? Perhaps this sounds like an odd question. It may, though, be an important one for you and your team.
I have experienced many development professionals who become especially urgent during the stewardship phase of the gift giving cycle. Once the gift has been made, they are quick to call the donor or send the donor a special hand-written note of gratitude. At the programmatic level, they have whole systems in place so that the initial gift acknowledgement and receipt is extended to the donor within 24 hours. They take great care and pride in ensuring that the whole team displays an exigency and high standards when expressing gratitude.
These consistent, exigent actions and systems of expressing thanks are great. Every development program should aspire to similar types of timely personalized stewardship. But, by itself, displaying urgency once a gift has been received is not the most effective placement of exigent characteristics.
Displaying an urgency when inviting people to make their gift is far more important to your development efforts and results. Showing an urgency on the front end of the gift giving cycle will not only lead to more gifts, it will lead to increased gifts as donors respond favorably to the enthusiastic invitation to give more to affirm their values.
Practicing exigence earlier in the gift giving cycle does not mean that you invite every person you meet to make a gift. But it does mean that when the opportunity presents itself, you take it – with enthusiasm! When a gift officer earnestly calls a donor at 6:00 pm on a Thursday to extend thanks to the donor for a recent gift, that is practicing an exigency on the back end of the gift giving cycle. Just imagine how many similar calls that same gift officer would be making if she were being more enthusiastic and exigent earlier in the invitation phase of the gift giving cycle.