What Can Your Major Gifts Department Learn From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

iStock_000018359494SmallNothing.
Well… almost nothing. Here’s what your major gifts department can learn.
 
1. The ice bucket challenge is an awareness and fundraising strategy that went viral.
2. So far, over $23 million dollars has been raised.
3. We do not yet know the average gift size.
4. We do not yet know if any of these donors will continue to support the mission.
5. We do not yet know what this viral campaign will mean for major and planned gifts.
 
Therefore:
6. Let someone else in your organization concern themselves with what this means.
7. You should not spend one more minute (after reading this post) concerning yourself or your major gifts colleagues with this.
8. Instead, you should pick up the phone or jump in your car to go visit with a major donor, planned gift prospect, legacy society member, or anyone else from whom you might secure a major gift.
 
Well, I guess that’s a little more than nothing.
 
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12 responses to “What Can Your Major Gifts Department Learn From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?”

  1. Greg, I actually believe that what Major Gifts officers can take from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is this — a huge part of the success is that participants have called on members of their network BY NAME to JOIN THEM in supporting an effort to build awareness and raise funds. This draws on a key fundamental of major gifts fundraising — peer-to-peer contact based on established relationships. At the end of the day, nothing matters like relationships.

  2. Greg, I actually believe that what Major Gifts officers can take from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is this — a huge part of the success is that participants have called on members of their network BY NAME to JOIN THEM in supporting an effort to build awareness and raise funds. This draws on a key fundamental of major gifts fundraising — peer-to-peer contact based on established relationships. At the end of the day, nothing matters like relationships.

  3. Karen Firestone says:

    Thanks, I’m out the door to go visiting…

  4. Karen Firestone says:

    Thanks, I’m out the door to go visiting…

  5. Marlene says:

    I agree year-end calls are in order now for major gift officers, but don’t miss these important take aways from the campaign:
    1) Huge PR/branding/name recognition value
    2) Visual/viral affect — let everyone feel they were a part of campaign or could easily become a part of the solution.
    3) Acquisition — Names of donors (anyone would love to have!) the organization might never tap now sit in their data base to be developed. Are they current major donors? No. Could they be? Yes, if cultivated correctly. Major gift officers should be doing year-end calls, next steps with each of these names by potential.
    Marlene

  6. Marlene says:

    I agree year-end calls are in order now for major gift officers, but don’t miss these important take aways from the campaign:
    1) Huge PR/branding/name recognition value
    2) Visual/viral affect — let everyone feel they were a part of campaign or could easily become a part of the solution.
    3) Acquisition — Names of donors (anyone would love to have!) the organization might never tap now sit in their data base to be developed. Are they current major donors? No. Could they be? Yes, if cultivated correctly. Major gift officers should be doing year-end calls, next steps with each of these names by potential.
    Marlene

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