We’re Primarily Donors
First and foremost, we are donors. People dedicated and committed to the mission and purpose of nonprofits, which as you know is to serve!
How Important Are Nonprofits?
Most people are unaware of the sheer size of the nonprofit sector. It represents a significant portion of our economy, overseeing nearly 13 million employees as of 2012, or 1 out of every 10 employees in the United States workforce, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*
U.S. nonprofits also produce more than $1.5 trillion in annual revenues, amounting to more than 5% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010. If U.S. nonprofits were a country, they would rank as the 17th largest economy in the world—larger than the Netherlands or Turkey.**
Therefore, the health of the nonprofit sector is critical to the health of our economy.
Not long ago, the Chairman of the Board of one of our hospital clients remarked about how difficult things are as a result of the recession. She wants to give more and is frustrated that she can’t.
The frustration of the Chairman of the hospital board was the same frustration we I felt in the early 90s. I wanted to give more – more time and more money to charity – but I was maxed out. I loved the non profits I was committed to and I wanted do more.
Doing what I do best – research – led me to the conclusion that many of the secure and financially viable non-profits, those that could withstand the inevitable ups and downs, were undergirded by a strong endowment. The most important ingredient for a strong endowment was a proactive, sustainable planned giving program.
Endowments take the year-by-year pressure off of current fundraising, as well as allowing organizations to fund needed projects for expansion. Even more importantly, endowments allow organizations to weather the storms that inevitably come their way.
Yet, Why Were So Few Succeeding At A Sustainable Planned Giving Program?
That’s what I wanted to find out, so I interviewed a number of planned giving professionals who worked in this area.
I was astounded by what I learned.
Fundamentally, they needed to:
- See more planned giving donors – they were barely scratching the surface, yet they didn’t have any more time to see more donors.
- See better donors – even if they had more time, identifying the “willing and able” was hit or miss.
- Motivate donors to action – in the end, donor development must result in some action on the part of donors.
With limited time and money, their essential need was for a cost-effective, time-efficient system to systematically and repeatedly carry those three things out.
Thus was born The Donor Motivation Program™ (DMP for short) – out of the needs of planned giving pros whose job it is to develop planned gifts.
In 1995, we began implementing The Program with United Way and two other non profit organizations. To my delight, in the second year of using the Program, Jack Miller and the Pittsburgh United Way were named the #1 United Way planned giving program in the country.
As a result, Jack and I were asked to make a presentation at the United Way of America Annual Planned Giving Conference. They asked me to return the following year, 1998, and then again for a workshop at their Millennial meeting.
Admittedly, in those first few years, it would have been a stretch to call DMP a complete system. However, each time something didn’t work, we used our experience to create a tool – a checklist, script, timeline, reminder – that would ensure success the next time around. The years and thousands of thousands on donors have taught us a lot. Today, it is truly a complete system, delivered by Donor Motivation Professionals throughout the United States and Canada.
It has been called “push-button planned giving” and “Donor Motivation in a box.”
The Top Ten Strategic Results for each charity we serve are:
- Engage Major Donors At Higher Level As Champions
- Provide a Simple Method for Champions to Introduce Their “Circle of Influence”
- Discover Millionaire Donors Next Door Among Donor Base
- Uncover Donors with Existing Legacy Gifts
- Re-Energize Disconnected Donors
- Establish The Organization As A Donor-Centric Resource
- Maintain Consistent Visibility With Your Donors and Community
- Communicate Long Term Stability
- Increase Legacy Gifts
- Become “Charity of Choice” In The Mind of Your Donor
* Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20141021.htm
** The Urban Institute's Nonprofit Almanac 2012; http://www.urban.org/research/publication/nonprofit-sector-brief-public-charities-giving-and-volunteering-2012/view/full_report; GDP numbers from the World Bank: http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf