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When I get the chance to talk to Peggy I have to check my impulse to write down every word she says. Like, if she had a fan club, I’d join it. (That’s not creepy at all right?) But if you need a straight answer about nonprofit anything Peggy has it. So when I asked, “how can you tell what donors need to know?” She rattled off three things likity split. Which makes sense because she has over 38 years of fundraising, storytelling and nonprofit management experience. After acting as director of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri for 22 years she now heads up Gary Pinkel’s Foundation. Join me as she gives me the lowdown on the three things all donors need to hear (no matter who they are).

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Hosted By
Monica Maye Pitts
Monica Maye Pitts Chief Creative Officer

3 Things All Donors Need to Know with Peggy Kirpatrick

When I get the chance to talk to Peggy I have to check my impulse to write down every word she says. Like, if she had a fan club, I’d join it. (That’s not creepy at all right?)

But if you need a straight answer about nonprofit anything Peggy has it. So when I asked, “how can you tell what donors need to know?” She rattled off three things likity split. Which makes sense because she has over 38 years of fundraising, storytelling and nonprofit management experience.  After acting as director of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri for 22 years she now heads up Gary Pinkel’s Foundation.  

Join me as she gives me the lowdown on the three things all donors need to hear (no matter who they are).

3 Things All Donors Need to Hear Cliff Notes

Before you approach a donor, you need to do your homework – Who are these people? What are their hot buttons? What are they passionate about?

For example, if you focus on the elderly but your donors care about the kids, you’re wasting everyone’s time. You also need to dig into your donors’ capacity for giving : You can offend people if you ask for too little or too much and you can also leave money on the table if for instance, someone’s normal gift is $25,000 but you ask for $200

Really good donor cultivation is all about relationships – You need to know who your donors are:

2 specific questions you need to answer before you approach a donor:

1. What’s in it for them? You need to understand their goals and figure out what you can give them – Can you give them marketing, state tax credits, special recognition, something else?

2. Why should they care? You have to think analytically and creatively about how to answer these questions. Potential donors won’t give you the time of day unless you give them a win-win proposition (they may say ‘yes’ once, but won’t say ‘yes’ again

You need to bring your donors in as a partner, not as somebody who will give you stuff. Having an attitude of “what have you done for me lately?” will kill your donor relationships and will kill your reputation.

Whoever your in-kind donors are – media partners, marketing partners, etc – make sure you name-drop them to others wherever you go, online and offline. Make sure they get due-credit for your success. That gives your in-kind donors incentive to keep helping you. You don’t need a lot (or any) money for equipment, supplies, or to compensate in-kind donors, if you can answer those two basic questions: What’s in it for them, and why should they care?

  • When you’re partnering with businesses, you have to think and act like a business. Give them the bottom line – What you’re doing, how you’re doing it, when you’re gonna do it, and how efficiently you’ll get it done. Remember, it’s not about your organization. It’s about the people who can help, and the people who need help – You’re just the bridge, the conduit.
  • If you’re going to approach a business for cash or in-kind donations, try to find out what they support and what their goals are as an organization. What they say is the key to tailoring your proposal to fit them
  • Try to stay away from politics. The quickest way to lose a donor is to be on the wrong side of their politics.
  • If you don’t have passion for what you do, that’s going to carry across when you make a presentation to anybody
  • Choosing your partners and events should align with your values and mission. For instance, if you’re a drug and alcohol rehab center, don’t have a wine tasting fundraiser.
  • The best way to turn a donor into a friend, is bring them into your organization on a deep level – Share pictures, stories, get them involved
  • Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t nag, but always be on the lookout for projects that potential donors might be interested in.
  • If you don’t have passion for what you do, that’s going to carry across when you make a presentation to anybody

The biggest cardinal sin of not-for-profits is not saying “thank you” – Not writing thank you letters, not writing thank you notes, not doing something extra special to say, “Wow, thank you so much for your partnership”.Find your own unique way of thanking people – baking, giving flower bouquets…it doesn’t matter, just make sure you thank them. Use real, powerful stories when thanking your donors – One time the American Heart Association brought a 9-year old child to the office of one of their past donors, a CEO. The CEO asked who the child was, and they said he’s a child that you helped save his life. Because of your donation, he was able to get a heart procedure that their family couldn’t afford. And he’s alive today, because of people like you. The CEO wrote a humongous check on the spot. Whatever in-kind partnerships you form, loyalty pays dividends (don’t flirt too much with other in-kind partners if you already made a deal)

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