The 3 Most Important Variables To Successfully Inviting Gifts – And How You May Be Thinking About Them Wrong

  1. The Messenger
  2. The Message
  3. The Medium

Those are the 3 most important variables when inviting a gift.  In that order.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a modest annual gift, a major gift, or a planned gift.  That’s the order of importance.

Who does the asking is, without fail, more important than the message.  And the message is more important than the medium or channel.

But most development shops approach soliciting donors by answering these questions in the reverse order.  For instance, we spend countless hours in meetings and discussion about whether our direct mail solicitation letter should be one or two pages.  Or, whether picture A or video B is the most compelling for use in our upcoming email solicitation.

Simply stated, development professionals pay far more attention to the “hows” than to the “whos.”

And, while “how” is important, it isn’t even close to the most important variable.

Who matters more.  And who matters because people give to people.

Maybe its your president.  Maybe its another well-known (to your community) donor.  Maybe its a recipient of your institution’s services.  Maybe it’s a national or international individual with influence.  Maybe it’s person employed at your institution.

We are moving quickly to a moment in history when influence and tribe matters most.  Who is compelling to your tribe of donors and supporters?  Who do they trust?  Who will they believe?

Spend the bulk of your strategy time answering those most important questions.


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