January 2015 – Gonser Gerber Bulletin on Advancement

What goals do you have for this New Year?  Perhaps 2015 is the year you will start a website redesign.  Or perhaps you are aiming to complete a successful campaign.  Or maybe your goals are more personal in nature – getting more fit or losing those 10 pounds, for instance.  Whatever your goals, our sincere hope is that you exceed them all!

At Gonser Gerber, we’d like to encourage you to add an additional, overarching goal to your list for 2015.

It isn’t a goal that is quickly checked off the “to-do” list.  It’s not even a goal that is ever fully realized.  But, if you want to engage more prospects and raise more money in 2015, it is a goal that you should consistently strive toward.  The goal is to enhance your “donor resonance.”

What is “donor resonance” you ask?

It’s a term to describe when gift officers are so in-tune with and understanding of the motivations, circumstances, values, and interests of their donors that the donors become more than simply givers to your cause, they become advocates and champions for your cause.

You may recall the concept of resonance from your high school science days.  When we place two identical tuning forks next to each other and strike one, the other tuning fork will also vibrate and emit the same sound.  The two tuning forks are “resonating.”

Similarly, your over-arching, meta-goal in advancement should be to get more donors to resonate with your mission.  To resonate with our cause. In this way, they become extensions of your efforts and programs.  They influence and encourage others to learn more about the work you are doing.  They help you raise your gift income totals.

To increase your donor resonance in 2015, we suggest 3 simple strategies:

  1. Increase the number of face-to-face visits you are making with your best donors and prospects.  Face-to-face visits are the best way to encourage resonance;
  2. Develop questions that can be asked of your best donors and prospects so that you can learn more about their motivations, values, interests, and why they are generous, and;
  3. Include these donors and prospects in special “insider’s only” communications from your institution’s leadership and invite them to special events designed only for them.

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on your past efforts and plan for a better future.  In 2015, if you establish and keep a goal of increasing “donor resonance,” we are certain that your institution’s future will be brighter than its past.