“I’m writing to let you know that we will make the gift of $50,000.”
“Unfortunately, we aren’t going to be able to give this year.”
The first quote represents the wonderful news that the donor will give. Yes! This is a fantastic message to receive and we rejoice in receiving it.
The second quote, on the other hand, represents the bad news that the prospect will not give. No! This distressing news is met with regret or perhaps frustration.
Important to embrace, however, that we had little control over both of these responses.
Sure, for the prospect who declined to give we can and should review our actions. Did we engage the prospect well? Did we follow-up on their questions in a timely way? Did we involve the right people? Perhaps we, potentially, could have been more strategic, done more, or done better.
But far too often, advancement folk incorrectly assume that a donor’s response either validates or invalidates their value, work, and abilities. It’s easy to allow our ego to accept too much gratification when a donor decides to give and accept too much woe when a gift is declined.
We can do donor discovery and cultivation exceptionally well and we can invite the gift in the most winsome ways, and still receive a “no.” And conversely, gifts are made everyday despite the efforts of advancement professionals.
It’s our responsibility to educate, to engage, and to invite.
It’s the donor’s responsibility to respond.
And, however they respond, it’s almost never about us.