Brewer Direct
 

“The perfect launching pad” for a major gifts program.

“The perfect launching pad” for a major gifts program.

“Early adopter.” “Trend setter.” “Pioneer.”

Call them what you will, but organizations who are among the early users of a new product or service are also among the first to benefit from that product’s improved efficiency, reduced cost and increased market penetration.

Such is the case with Open Door Mission of Houston and Brewer Direct’s innovative major and middle donor gifts program, Momentum Philanthropy.

With just less than a year’s experience under their belts, Development Director Butch Mangum and Major Gifts Officer Cherri Williams both praised the program.

“It works,” Mangum says. “When we began, we had no major gifts officer or a formal major gifts program. Identifying donors who have potential for major gifts was a huge step for us. The initial list of 437 potential major donors had to be whittled down to something that was more manageable. Now, we have a list of 80+ individuals who we are working with.”

“There are another potential 30-40 names, but we need an additional individual to handle them.”

Williams, who was the Mission’s Development Coordinator, now works almost full-time as a Major Gifts Officer. She not only makes personal contact with her new list of high-potential donors, but adds her own “personal touches” to mail contacts.

“I always include handwritten updates about the Mission in my Thank You notes, in addition to something personal – information I’ve gleaned from phone and face-to-face conversations.” And she adds her own personal touch…like offering a copy of her Granny’s secret homemade chocolate pie recipe in Christmas cards! [38 of 80+ recipients wrote back or phoned for the recipe!]

“I’m simply being me,” Williams says. “Allowing them to feel connected in small ways, whether it’s in person or via letter…so they feel they know me on a personal level.” This personal touch is one of the key factors to Williams’ success.

“I exceeded my annual goal of adding of $120,000 in gifts this year, and that’s not counting December. I’m not afraid of asking, or feeling rejected if someone says, ‘No.’ I simply say, ‘I hope you don’t mind if I call on you in the future to keep you up to date. And I haven’t had anyone say ‘No’ to that!”

Encouraging major donors to reach their full potential has really paid off for Open Door Mission. “We’ve seen some very specific results,” Mangum says. “Not only has the number of major donors gone up, but some of our major gifts people have doubled  their amount or given more than one gift in a year.”

Mangum would definitely recommend this program for organizations who don’t have a formalized major and middle donor gifts program, or have just begun one. “It gives you the structure you need to build relationships and also helps you shepherd your time. I could not have hired an individual to do this. In the first two months, we recouped the cost of the program and saw a return of three to four times our investment in the first year.”

To learn more about this innovative new program, download the brochure here. Or call Lolly Colombo, Rod Romero or David Stolberg at (626) 359-1015.