Philanthropic Intention

October 2, 2018 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Fundraisers have a lot of tools – real and subjective – that allow us to measure a donor’s ability to make a significant gift to a nonprofit organization. The LAI* score is one:

Linkage – A contract bridge or access through a peer to the potential donor

Ability  The perception that the current/potential donor has a gift capability at a certain level; the prospect’s own reception that such a gift capability is a reality

Interest – An understanding of the organization’s mission and accomplishments

*Thanks to AFP Fundamentals Course contributors: Scott Decksheimer, Sue Lee, Cindy Nuefeld

Each part of the LIA score works on a scale of 1-5 and provides fundraisers with one tool to focus attention and tier their portfolio.

I would like to suggest there is another “I” which may replace Interest, split the two phrases in Ability or add to the score – philanthropic intention. When rating a donor’s Ability – there is a tendency to focus on donor’s ability but not the donor’s perception about making a larger gift.

I believe a donor with a LIA score of 11+ engages with a nonprofit mission and values by:

  • showing up at events
  • agreeing to meetings with leaders and donors
  • Asking how they can help and request a proposal

And that’s where the confusion lies. A fundraiser with a clear head and focus must prevail. As requested, the donor receives a proposal, returns a few follow up calls, continues to accept event invitations – but won’t make or increase their philanthropic commitment. No matter who the influencer is or indications of interest and ability– this donor has no intention of making a new, different, larger gift. BUT they won’t say:

  • No thank you
  • Not at this time
  • I don’t want to give

At some point, sooner than later, the fundraiser must remove this donor from their portfolio and spend time with a donor who has a LIA score of 11+ and philanthropic INTENTION. We must be careful not to make excuses for this donor. We must bless and release them from a portfolio.


Entry filed under: Fundraising. Tags: , , , , , , .

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