There are two types of pressures gift officers can embrace.
On the one hand, many gift officers can feel pressured to invite the biggest possible gift from a donor as quickly as possible.
This pressure can cause gift officers to feel as if they have to “ask big,” and “not leave money on the table,” because, “a lot is riding on this ask!” Gift officers feeling this pressure may end up engaging in gift conversations too quickly or without the best understandings of donor motivations. Their invitations to give can feel dramatic, choppy, and even awkward for all involved.
This type of pressure is almost always self-imposed (either by the gift officer herself or through institutional culture) and rarely represents reality. For example, seldom will there be dire consequences if the institution doesn’t receive the biggest gift possible as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, far fewer gift officers feel the pressure to build and strengthen productive relationships with donors. The pressure that these gift officers experience is to behave in ways to strategically enhance the long-standing giving relationship between the donor and the institution.
These gift officers view themselves as giving stewards or relationship-enhancers. Their invitations to give feel easier, more comfortable, and less urgent. They engage donors and are present with them in order to more deeply understand their values, their giving motivations, and their relationship with the institution.
Both types of pressure impact a gift officer’s productivity and well-being in the work.
But only one aligns most closely with reality and has the most value for all involved.
This article was originally posted on Jason’s Blog in December 2023. To read more, visit www.jasonmcneal.com.