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For Impact | The Suddes Group

Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Transformational Gifts Are Not Always the Largest Gifts


Transformational gifts are not always the largest gifts. Sometimes a commitment made at the right time – early in a project, or perhaps when a campaign is stalled – can be transformational.

When funding for a project is unclear, or when funders are not coming through with commitments, confidence can decline. On a team this often manifests itself in the form of more meetings, lack of team cohesion, and increased turnover. We cannot overstate the importance of confidence – for individuals, for your advancement team, for your complete enterprise.  

The nonprofit sector is the largest sector of our economy. We would love to be able to calculate the lost productivity, or lost output, due to uncertainty, fear, or simply a lack of clarity that arises from (or, in many cases, produces) a lack of funding. 

We’ve witnessed how a gift commitment at the right time can provide more than just momentum – it can transform a team and an enterprise. It can validate the vision and trigger a state of flow in an organization. In the funding function, this translates into increased confidence in the story, more presentations, more asks, and more revenue.

There are times when we can share the internal uncertainty with a funder – to talk about the impact the commitment could have on the psychology of the team.  Any funder that’s ever had to lead will understand the importance of validation, clarity, and the morale boost that follows.

In a way we’re saying, “Your impact is not only going to be on the kids, or homes, or projects.  It’s going to have a very, very real impact on our team. They have been putting in long hours, fighting for this plan.”

It takes a particular command and control to share this kind of message with a funder. It’s not about showing weakness. It’s… a real opportunity to transform. This is the kind of thing we mean when we talk about being ‘a real partner’ with the funder and standing ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’.  

So, transformational gifts can be about something other than huge gifts that give scale; they can be about well-timed funding commitments that give confidence. Confidence and team-cohesion is TRANSFORMATIONAL.

Set Your Intent at the Start of the Visit


Set your intent at the start of a visit. In conjunction with strong predisposition, an INTENT will help you TRANSITION throughout the conversation and DRIVE toward an ask.  

Stating intent could be as simple as outlining the FLOW for the visit, “Thanks for taking time to visit with us today. As George shared, we’re hoping to connect with people that really have a similar passion for helping youth. What we would like to do is take a few minutes to get to know you [the OPEN]. We would like to share a little bit about what we’re doing [the STORY]. And, then, if it’s okay, we would love to talk about ways to help [the ASK / Presenting the Opportunity].

When they’re not able to navigate the ‘flow-of-the-visit,’ Development Officers have a hard time transitioning to the ask. It’s as though they are waiting to be invited to have a discussion about how the prospect can help.

In a broader and universal sense, any discussion is more productive when framed by a clear intent. As a reminder, here is the framework we use to illustrate the ‘The Flow of the Visit.’

 

The Development Professional Triple Legacy


Most of us hope to leave a legacy – for our families, communities, those we serve, our world… And many of you reading this have an even more unique opportunity to leave a mark.

As a development professional (in many cases, this includes executive/volunteer leadership), you have the chance to be a part of three legacies:

  1. The Legacy of the Funder. It’s your job to help funders and leaders move from success to significance. That cannot happen without you.

  2. Your Personal Legacy (or Brand). Think of this as the positive energy, attitude and optimism you bring to your team every day.

  3. The Mentorship Legacy.  Every great leader and every great sales professional became great because of hard work AND because of great models. Be intentional about this legacy. Your impact will not be contained to your organization – it will multiply (for better or worse) as the next generation assumes leadership to be for impact.