The Gift and The Giver

It’s easy to focus on “the gift.”  What is the amount we are seeking?  For what purpose?  Over what period of time?  We talk about the gift in strategy sessions, when we ask for it, and when we receive it – especially when we receive one of significance!  We write proposals that answer the questions of why the gift matters, how the gift will make a difference, and the how the stewardship of the gift will occur.

And while the gift is important, “the giver” is indispensable.  The giver, of course, makes the gift happen.

Focusing on the giver is the most effective centrum of interest for the wise advancement professional.  What motivates this donor to give?  What animates her interest in our project, program, or institution?  What are his values and how can we best present those values as being in alignment with our work?

What if, instead of preparing proposals focused on the gift, we crafted giving invitations that elegantly and articulately spoke to the values, beliefs, and motivations of the donor?  Instead of building our “case for support” around why gifting to a particular project or an initiative was important, our case focused as much creative messaging on how the donor’s values would be affirmed and extended?  And, what if, after the giver made the giving decision, we focused more of our stewardship activities on how the giver’s beliefs and convictions were being supported through their generosity, as opposed to how we might be using the gift.

Yes, the gift matters.  The amount, the type, the time frame, the purpose.  Everything about the gift is important.  But, the giver. . . simply put, the giver will give you more when she feels as though she is known and understood.


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