One reason it’s difficult to teach someone how to be a better major gifts professional is because it’s not about teaching specific words or phrases to use during an ask. It’s not about teaching a particular process or formula to follow in order to prepare for asking a prospect for a major gift. It’s not about teaching critical tactics or skills or spreadsheets or wealth scores or proposal writing.
Becoming a better major gifts professional starts with developing the right ethos. It’s getting to the place where you believe deeply that you aren’t taking something from someone but, rather, are inviting them to do something that will bring them immense joy. It’s growing in the understanding that generosity transforms the giver as much (if not more) than it transforms the recipient. It’s accepting the role as a gift facilitator, and not simply a gift receiver.
When we strengthen this ethos, this mindset, this belief system, we then will more naturally do the things necessary to build trust with donors. It becomes an authentic honor to labor in this charitable vineyard. And the seeming importance of the “right” words, phrases, skills and tactics melts away. Trust has a way of making everything else less important.
We don’t get better in this work because we become technically more proficient. We get better because we care enough to deeply embrace the view that generosity is central to the human experience.