From “Rainmaking: The Fundraisers Guide to Landing Big Gifts” on page 112…
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The best fundraisers know that relationships are never about money. By the same token, successful major gift officers make sure the relationships they build are never about the money. It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you want to receive large sums of money from people for your charity, your relationships should not be based on the money.
Successful fundraisers also know that investors (not just donors) write the largest checks, and that what they are first and foremost is a “friendraiser.” They make it a priority to build friendships that have absolutely nothing to do with receiving a donation.
Successful major gift officers are great at making friends with others. I remember meeting with donors and prospects for lunch and simply asking the question, “What are your plans today?” The next thing I knew I’d be taking Mrs. Smith to the grocery store or taking Mr. Johnson to the bank. I remember two or three occasions when my major gift officer duties included visiting a friend in the hospital, fixing a door hinge, re-hanging a photo and even cutting the grass (of course,with my lagging mechanical and carpentry skills, I have to be pretty careful).
I learned about this above-and-beyond mentality from a co-worker many years ago: I’d called to check on how his visit had gone with a donor, and a dear older lady answered his phone. She said that “My friend is helping me paint the front porch right now and could he call you back in an hour or so?”. Now that is a real friend.