LG 4: Always Bring an Envelope

Leadership Gleaning #4: Always Bring an Envelope

When your organization is a non-profit and has gone through a challenging season, each fundraising call you make is a critical opportunity to listen deeply to your donors, find out what matters most to them and then, and only then, share with them what your organization is focused on if they show interest.

I recently met with a long time donor to our organization. In recent years her donations had come more sporadically and while still very generous, had tapered off a bit.  Nonetheless, she graciously agreed to meet with me. Over lunch she shared with me her passions, asked me lots of questions about what we are involved in currently as well as where we are headed strategically. She has the reputation of being very smart and well informed, strong in her beliefs and convictions and committed to giving generously to those organizations whose purposes align with her family foundation.

I came armed with folders of information, had a Power Point ready to go on my iPad if it seemed appropriate to share (it wasn’t) and believed I was thoroughly prepared to give her a fulsome update. She indicated interest in helping. I laid out the specific need I was asking for her to considering supporting and handed over my voluminous folders of information.

The moment had come to make “the ask” and I was ready. I asked her, a bit awkwardly “Is there anything else you might need from me to consider making this gift before the end of our fiscal year?” She paused for a minute and responded, “Just an envelope.” And don’t you know—it was the one thing I had not thought to bring! She shared that when she sat down to make her gifts she found it helpful to have self-addressed envelopes ready to go as she wrote out her checks.  Well suffice to say, I hightailed it back to my office, wrote her a lengthy thank you note and included in it a business size self-addressed, stamped envelope!