You are probably asking, what is a Master Gift Officer? That is a term we have coined that is the focus of our PLAN-MGO 4-day Master Gift Officer event. Today, what matters in the fundraising world are skills and the ability to build authentic relationships, not titles or restrictive boundaries.
Gift range responsibilities are less relevant, and job titles should be “flexible” and non-intimidating when it comes to optimizing opportunities. For example, who should lead or participate on the team assigned to a wealthy donor with capacity for a six or seven-figure campaign gift? The answer is the person with the best authentic relationship with the donor – even if that person is not technically a “major gift officer” by title or experience.
Now that we are on the same page, I want to share a short “trigger” list that has emerged from the PLAN-MGO training that may be useful to you. Some of these stop and think triggers will resonate with you and help you to be more conscience of your own competence in the work that you do.
Mirroring: Our brains are wired with “mirror” neurons that have us reflect back what we see in others. Ever notice what you do when you walk into a room and someone gives you a big welcoming smile? You smile back! And if you are smiling, you are feeling lighter, and are less threatened and more engaging. Or how about that contagious yawn. If you start a meeting distracted or troubled or in a bad mood, it will definitely rub off on others.
Reciprocity: When talking about moves management, a touch is not a touch unless the prospect provides a reciprocal action to your overture. It is not enough to send someone a note or an email, because there is no reciprocal action on their part to close the circle on your action. A meaningful cultivation action requires reciprocation by the donor.
Power Postures: Some people naturally get themselves into a mindset and into a posture before they go into a meeting or into a demanding situation. Others need to learn how to create that posture and frame of mind that gives power and confidence, and enables you to be in the moment and in “flow”, ready for anything that comes your way. Wouldn’t it be great if you can summon your power on demand!
Pacing & Leading: Have you ever found yourself in a meeting or conversation with someone who dominates the conversation? As gift officers, we often find ourselves in meetings with prospects/donors and a volunteer or our boss, and neither is willing to speak to the topic you want them to discuss. It is your job to understand the pace and tenor of the conversation, become part of it, and then lead the participants toward the topic you want them to discuss. You can learn how to do this so that no one knows you are doing it.
Changing State: Most people have an attention span of around 7 minutes, after that, the mind begins to wander, eyes glaze over and day dreaming might set in. This will not happen if you intentionally change the state of mind of the person you are involved with. Changing state might involve telling a joke, causing laughter, standing up, clapping hands, raising the volume of your voice or telling a sidebar personal story. Being aware of the need to do this will help you get your points across and help make them stick in the mind of your compatriot.
Our work as gift officers is complex and often high stakes, and it is difficult to master the many techniques that can contribute to your success. Becoming a master gift officer starts with first understanding these complexities and then leaning how to master them.
For more information about the April 11-14, 2014 PLAN-MGO Event and Copley Raff and its spectrum of consulting services, please see http://www.planmgo.comand www.copleyraff.com. Follow CRI on Twitter @copleyraff.