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Darrell & Tacy Edwards
A Tip for Future Success
Program to today's audience.
Orchestras need to evolve to meet the changing audience. Today with Ipods and sattelite radio available, audiences want to be entertained, not bored, with the live experience. Programming needs to be more audience friendly in today's market. Gone are the days of playing every movement of a symphony and making the audience adhere to the established custom of not clapping between movements and not being an active participant. Let them express their enthusiasm. Acknowledge their appreciation. Eliminate the long, slow, murky movements of boredom that exist in some symphonic works. Add something just for fun in your masterworks program to add a momentary pops flavor. Make the concert a night to remember so each audience member will return again and again for delightful surprises. If your ticket sales are down, you seriously need to rethink your programming format.
WHY PEOPLE GIVE
Darrell G. Edwards
As fundraising professionals, we are constantly faced with the challenge of determining why people give away their precious resources.What compels a person in these uncertain economic times to contribute at sometimes extraordinary levels?What are some of the factors that inspire a donor to respond to a particular solicitation while ignoring others?Hopefully the following examples of why people give will serve to pique your interest and begin to answer these ever-present questions about donor motivations.Our success as fundraisers depends on the ability to accurately assess these motivations in order to properly chart a customized course of action.
PEOPLE GIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE ASKED TO DO SO:The number one reason that can be cited as why people give is simply because they were asked to do so.How often do you encounter fundraising committee meetings where someone is critical of this or that donor because they donít contribute at the level of their capability or at all.When the donor is made aware of the situation, most often their answer is they were never asked or they were only asked for a lesser amount, which is what they contributed.
One of the greatest challenges in fundraising is the responsibility of developing a plan that solicits all those who should be solicited at the proper request level.
PEOPLE GIVE TO PEOPLE: The saying that people donít give to organizations or a cause is basically true.Most gifts, of any size, can be traced to the fact that a donor was motivated or felt compelled to contribute because of the person who asked them to do so.People give to people.It is our job to conduct the necessary research to ensure that all solicitors are properly trained and carefully matched with the prospective donor.
PEOPLE GIVE FOR VISIBILITY:The president of a long established company in town might give a significant gift in return for receiving visibility for himself or for his company, either in the form of a sponsorship or on a more permanent basis such as a naming opportunity on a building.Likewise, the head of a new company might be inspired to do the same thing.Generally their motivation is more toward marketing and less toward the philanthropic end and centers to a greater degree on announcing their presence as a new ďplayer ďin the community.
PEOPLE GIVE TO HONOR SOMEONE:Recent examples of people contributing to honor someone near and dear to them is the Calvin Turner Jr. family pledging $15 million to the proposed new symphony hall in Nashville.The hall will be named in honor of their mother.Another example is Ross Perotís gift of $10 million to name the Dallasís symphony hall, the MeyersonSymphonyCenter, for his invaluable business associate at EDS, Morton Meyerson.
PEOPLE GIVE FOR A SENSE OF BELONGING:Some donors are motivated to contribute large gifts because several of their close friends have done so.As a result, it creates a sense of belonging to a small elite group of successful people.Just as in the corporate example mentioned above, a significant gift by a newcomer to town also creates an immediate sense of belonging for that individual in the communityís social hierarchy.It also provides regular opportunities for those individuals to be together at social gatherings centered around your organization.
PEOPLE GIVE FOR THE TAX BENEFIT:No one likes to admit it, but most people contribute because there is a tax benefit in doing so.The idea of redirecting to a local entity some of the tax dollars that they would otherwise be sending off to Washington is a compelling reason to support their community.In this way they have a voice in how their money is used in addition to receiving tax relief. Whether done so to reduce an annual tax burden or as an advance plan to reduce estate taxes after death, both achieve the same direct benefit to the taxpayerís own community.
PEOPLE GIVE FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS:My favorite reason why people give to non-profits is so their own children and grand-children will have opportunities available to enjoy and will someday support the same worthwhile causes.When you can convince a donor of the worth of providing resources today for the enjoyment of future generations, it results in a most gratifying situation for everyone involved.
The above examples are just a few basic reasons why people give.Iím sure by now you have added your own examples to those mentioned.One of the most important tasks we have as development professionals is the proper assessment of all of our donor prospects.When you figure out what your prospectís most likely motivation is for considering making a gift, your job of preparing the correct approach and assigning the ideal person to make the solicitation will ensure a more likely positive response and will translate to healthy dollars for your organization.
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