Book Review: ‘It’s Not Just About the Donor’

This past weekend, I read the second book by the Veritus Group principals Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels: “It’s Not Just About the Donor.” This was written during COVID-19, and one chapter is especially focused on fundraising during a crisis.

You may ask, why would someone like me who typically only deals with small(ish) and monthly donors want to spend two hours reading this book on major gifts?

Because small donors lead to major gifts. Because so much of what is being done early on can or may not lead to major gifts. Because so much of what must be put in place to generate major gifts also applies to small donors. All fundraising ties together, and Richard and Jeff clearly explain this.

Major donors come from your existing donor base. They come from your direct mail appeals. It doesn’t end there. It’s just what you do next that can lead donors to upgrade to higher levels.

This is where monthly giving comes in. This is where mid-level donor programs come in, and then on to major donors. It’s about planning and working the plan, no matter what.

I especially liked the many practical examples in this book. The plan, numbers and charts are downloadable and very user-friendly.

Chapter No. 7 is focused on creating donor offers. This is something we also need for smaller donors. How can one donor make a difference? How much money does it take? You need a compelling need, a believable solution and donor adoption. To develop a great donor offer, Richard and Jeff recommend collaborating with your finance and program people. I’m going through this right now with an organization, and this process comes in really handy.

I also like Richard’s and Jeff’s description about having your heart broken for the need. As a fundraiser, you must “immerse yourself in the place mentally and emotionally where you serve others and help heal the hurts of our planet.”

I’m not going to give everything away as I really think this is a must-read book for any and all fundraisers, as you’ll pick up some nuggets for donors of all levels. But I’m going to share a few great quotes from this wonderful book’s final chapters that apply to any and all of you, no matter where you are in the organization:

“This journey is about doing what really matters. And you, as a leader and manager, are right in the thick of it.”

“Focus on what matters. It will lift your spirit and get your eyes back on the right things.”

“Be kind. Be a risk-taker. Be generous and inspiring. Be a leader. Our hurting world needs you to lead in order to help change it.”

Don’t you ever forget that what you do every day is important. Having the very practical downloadable tools and examples in this book, “It’s Not Just About the Donor” will make you do that even better!

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