Don’t Let an Enormous Gift Deflate Excitement

You got the big gift! Celebrate because everything will be a breeze for a while…right? Well, yes. You should definitely enjoy the moment. But after the initial rush wears off, a lot of fundraisers can start to feel anxiety creeping in. Why? We call it the dark side of an enormous gift.

Except the thing is, there doesn’t have to be a dark side at all. Let’s illuminate it, shall we?

What’s the worry?

A headline-worthy gift is, obviously, great news for your organization. You don’t need us to tell you this, but it’s going to allow you to do a lot of great work. Which is incredible! That’s always the goal and it deserves all the praise and congratulations you get.

For many, though, there’s a worry that a big, huge, eye-popping gift can decrease support in the rest of your donor base. After all, you raised an incredible amount of money. You must be all set for a while, right?

You know that’s not the truth, of course. But the concern is that your donors don’t realize it.

We don’t think you have too much to worry about, though.

How to deal with it?

That said, you probably do have to be at least a little bit proactive. Much like, well, almost every aspect of life, communication is going to be key.

And there are a lot of directions to take, as the Chronicle of Philanthropy recently laid out.

Two tactics stood out to us. First, continuing to tailor your asks to the interest of the donor. As the article points out, an enormous gift doesn’t solve all your problems. Like most gifts, it’s earmarked for something very specific. And while that buoys your institution as a whole, it might not address the specific interests of other donors. Make it clear to them that they can still make an monumental impact on the areas they’re most passionate about.

Second, focus on the positive. A blockbuster gift is a sign of your organization’s health. Donors want to know their money is going somewhere it will make a difference. A show-stopping gift is a neon sign that points at how stable and prosperous you are. Instead of shying away from a large gift, use it as another reason donating is a smart move.

Successfully used other tactics to keep donors interested after an enormous gift? Tell us all about your approach in the comments.