8. Major Donors Are Both Customers and Salespeople

A successful capital campaign starts at
the top of your donor pyramid, not at the
bottom. Challenge your brightest and best
to commit first. A bottom-to-top campaign
is a conundrum in the making. You must
invite your major donors to set the pace
with their leadership-size gifts.

Moses led around three million people out
of Egypt, give or take a few thousand. God
gave instructions to Moses for building the
tabernacle. In Exodus 25, Moses asked those
whose hearts were willing to give. He
started at the top by asking for gifts of gold,
silver, and bronze. I have a sneaking
suspicion that Moses and Aaron understood
this campaign principle. I believe they were successful
because they asked those key donors with the resources to make their commitment first and then invite their friends and traveling companions to join them.

NEWS FLASH! This is still the way great campaigns are conducted today. The number one reason people give is because of who asks. There is a relationship between the asker and the one being asked. Good news. We are still a relational society and high touch still works. It is sometimes much easier for a major donor to invest dollars in your campaign than time, but you need both. Think about your campaign from the salesperson standpoint. Who do major donors hang around with, vacation with, golf with, and live near? The answer is obvious—other major donors. They are often people of affluence but are also people of influence.

We are involved in a campaign now where a major donor flew his personal plane to another state to invite a very close business friend and investor to match his own million-dollar gift. He said, “I believe I have enough skin in the game to ask my close friend to join me in this campaign.” He went on to say that he had helped his friend build equity in his business that had just sold for more than $50 million. This donor transitioned from customer to salesperson. Ask your major donors to invest their time, talent, and treasure (skin in the game) in your campaign and invite others to do the same.

If  you would like to learn more about how to engage your major donors to give and get their friends to give, email Pat at pmclaughlin@timothygroup.com.

About the Author: Pat McLaughlin President/Founder – Pat started The Timothy Group in 1990 to serve Christian ministries as they raise money to advance their missions. TTG has assisted more 1,800 Christian organizations around the world with capital, annual, and endowment campaigns. More than 25,000 of Pat’s books, Major Donor Game Plan, The C Factor: The Common Cure for your Capital Campaign Conundrums, and Haggai & Friends have helped fundraisers understand the art and science of major donor engagement. Pat makes more than one hundred major donor visits annually and provides counsel to multiple capital campaigns.

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