[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]

January 23, 2017

Honoring the Donor's Hard-Earned Money

imageAfter a university in Detroit, Michigan received an incredible gift of $40 million, an uproar began, simply because the donors were specific about how the funds were to be used and dispersed.

I applaud the donors for not leaving any question about how they wanted their money used. Misunderstandings between donors and nonprofits are occurring more frequently. To the degree organizations feel entitled, they neglect donor intent.

This issue hits close to home for me. I offered my undergraduate university a gift of $1 million based on the new president remaining for a period of time. I was impressed with him, and felt the university would benefit under his leadership. The president accepted the gift, but after a celebration was scheduled and invitations sent out, the chair of the college foundation rejected the gift, because - in his opinion - my intent was "...not to help the university." They canceled the event, which ended any opportunity they would ever have for another gift from me.

Later, during my law school's $20-million campaign, I offered to give $500,000 over a 10-year period. This gift was rejected by email with a response from the law school dean: "We only accept pledges over five years." That was five years ago, and last I heard, the school still hasn't reached its goal.

Short-sightedness, a lack of creativity, and institutional or personal ego have led to many a fundraising failure. Donors give for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. When will nonprofits learn that giving is a personal endeavor?

It's time for the fundraising community to wake up and be reminded: It's the donor's money!

Money flows to where it's appreciated. Large gifts may require institutions to stretch their imaginations and step out of their box to accept these gifts. Otherwise, they should expect gifts to flow elsewhere.

Bob Hartsook
, Founder and Chairman (Wrightsville Beach, N.C.) [email protected]

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logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

Kent, U.K.
February 13, 2017

Understanding Fundraising Conference
Keynote: Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
February 20-22, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

San Francisco
April 30 - May 2, 2017

AFP International Fundraising Conference
Successful Fundraising Events: Just What Does It Take to Be Best in Class
Adrian Sargeant

Washington, D.C.
March 21, 2017

Federal Trade Commission & National Association of State Charities
Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Dallas
May 10-12, 2017

Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference
Relationship Fundraising 2.0
Adrian Sargeant

London
May 23-24, 2017

Third Sector's Annual Fundraising Conference
Thinking Outside the Box: Everything You Wanted to Know about Donor Behaviour
Adrian Sargeant

Houston
June 9, 2017

AFP Houston Chapter
Adrian Sargeant

New Orleans
June 15, 2017

New Orleans Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference
Adrian Sargeant

London
July 4, 2017

IoF Fundraising Convention 2017
Great Fundraising Events
Adrian Sargeant

Richmond, Va.
July19-20, 2017

Virginia Fund Raising Institute
Innovating Philanthropy
Karin Cox
John Warren
Presenting Sponsor: Hartsook

Tulsa
August 2, 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
"Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?"
Adrian Sargeant

Tulsa
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
"Massive Fundraising"
Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
October 23-25, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
February 7-9, 2018

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass

Past Stops on the Tour


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Hartsook has pushed and challenged the status quo, and nobody in the world has had a greater impact on the fundraising profession than Bob Hartsook. The strategies shared in $231 Billion Raised and Counting are the culmination of Bob's many years as a fundraiser, consultant, and philanthropist - as he and co-authors Matt Beem and Karin Cox bring together insights from the many consultants who make up the extraordinary Hartsook team. Go here to purchase your copy.


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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].

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