“Hit up.” “Loaded.” “Milk.” “Should give.” “Ought to give.” “Owes us.” “Get into his or her pockets.” “Pick the low hanging fruit.”
Those are the kinds of expressions fundraisers should never say, Marcy Heim, a fundraising trainer in Madison, Wis., told people gathered in Vancouver for the first day of the annual meeting of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Such talk is toxic, she says, and will destroy a charity’s image and create a schism between the professional staff and board members and big donors.
“A donor can smell a fake a mile away, just as you can,” Ms. Heim said.
Fundraisers shouldn’t ever suggest to donors that they can get extra recognition by making a big gift, or reduce or avoid taxes through a charitable donation. However, so many fundraisers have said such things that a lot of donors are now turned off.
While many donors have said they stopped giving in recent years because of the bad economy, that was just an excuse, she says. Donors have told her they were frustrated that they never heard about the impact their past contributions or were properly thanked.
Ms. Heim offered some tips on the kinds of phrases and thinking that fundraisers should use to win donors’ trust.
- “My cause is worthy of your investments.”
- “We are a sound and accountable organization.”
- “We make a difference, and I am proud of what we do.”
Toward the end of her session, Ms. Heim sought to lift fundraisers’ spirits by singing a bluesy song with lyrics aimed directly at how to overcome challenges in major-gift fundraising. You can listen and watch:
Send an e-mail to Raymund Flandez.