You know the expression — time is money.

It’s cliché. But it’s also true… for you and your donors.

When you have that special opportunity to sit down with your biggest and best potential donors, why waste precious time?

Building the Long-Term Capacity of Your Organization

Take a step back for a moment. Remember, you’re in a capital campaign for a reason. You have a big vision for the future. Your vision goes beyond current capital and annual funding needs. You are also thinking about the long-term capacity of your organization.

If you could achieve the mission of your organization in the next year or two, you’d do it. But your organization’s work will not be finished in a year or two.  It will extend into the future.

And the donors to your campaign are likely already sold on the idea of a strong and healthy future for your organization. So, when you sit with them to discuss a campaign gift, you also have a golden opportunity to talk with them about the short AND long-term needs of the organization.

After all, your donors want to continue to provide the amazing programs you do today. They want you to grow and develop new programs.  And they want you to be around to provide service for generations to come. You can’t do that without support. So why not ask your donors to help fund the immediate needs and upcoming growth as well as help secure the organization’s future?

Asking for 3 Gifts in 1: Capital, Annual, and Planned Gifts

Ideally, you don’t want to bombard your donors with asks throughout the year.  For committed donors, it may be better to have one powerful conversation about all your needs and spend the rest of the year cultivating and stewarding them.

Remember, when you ask for a gift, it’s a conversation — a request for them to consider something.

So, you should invite your donors to consider ALL of the organization’s needs — short-term (annual fund), mid-term (capital needs), and long-term (planned giving).

A Sample Asking Script

You might say something like this:

As someone who truly cares about [healthcare] in our community, we want to ask you to consider three things:

  1. first, the capital project;
  2. second, your ongoing support of the annual fund;
  3. and third, the longer terms needs of the [hospital].

Would you be open to having all three conversations today?

[pause for an affirmative response]

The primary reason for our visit is to ask you for a gift to the capital campaign. But because support of our current programs and services continue to be important, we’re asking every campaign donor to consider a campaign gift in addition to their annual fund gift.

Would you consider a leadership level gift to the campaign of $100,000 or more over and above your regular annual gift.

In addition to your capital gift, we hope you will continue to pledge your support to our annual fund at the level you’ve been supporting or larger for at least the next three years.

Wait for an answer, then respond appropriately. Answer any and all questions they have. Confirm what you heard and discuss the next steps.

Suggest a Planned Gift Last

After you’ve asked for a capital gift and an annual gift, move along to the final topic — planned giving. You might say something along the lines of:

There’s one more topic I’d like to discuss. Planned gifts are the way we plant seeds for future leaders and generations. Would you be open to discussing the possibility of a planned gift, like a charitable bequest?

Putting it All Together

In a single conversation, you’ll have raised the question of three gifts in one:

  • a capital campaign gift
  • an annual gift
  • a planned gift

Donors who are truly committed to your organization will want to support you in the short, mid, and long term. You may not get an answer right away — but you will have started a very important conversation.

You’ll have planted the seed for three gifts. And in doing so, you will have gotten your donor thinking about giving to  your organization in a bigger and more meaningful way. And that’s no small feat.

Before you leave the donor, make sure that you agree on the steps to move the conversation forward.  That too, is an important part of your conversation.

1 Comment

  1. Kathryn Hungerford

    Thank you for this bold suggestion with practical tips, Amy! You are always encouraging, uplifting, to the point and a source of light. Thank you!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *