Philanthropy: Motivations to give, the millennial generation, trustee involvement and more

: Amy Sweeting

Amy Sweeting, one of the board members who designed the Philanthropy track, explains why being ‘major donor ready’ is more important now than ever before.

I think you will all agree that fundraising has seen quite a lot of change in the last few years some of it positive and some of it challenging. Every change has given us opportunities to improve what we’re doing and how we do it  meaning that we’re in a better position than ever to raise substantial income from major philanthropists. 

But with a new generation of donors on the rise who want different things from charities, new ways of using technology to build relationships and changes since the new GDPR, we need to make sure that we’re adapting to meet some of these changes before it’s too late.  

I’ve spent some time asking fundraisers about their concerns for the future of Major Donor fundraising and have chosen three key questions below. Luckily – there’s plenty of sessions at the Convention this year that will help us answer some of these questions and many more! 

1. What actually motivates people to give to charities and is this changing with a new focus on personal impact? 

This session on ‘the Onside Model’ will teach us how best to use storytelling to build relationships to motivate donors quickly so they give faster. It challenges the old rule that a major ask should never be made in the first meeting.

This live podcast session ‘What Donors Want’ will give us a behind-the-scenes view and insights in to philanthropy. What better way to understand why donors give than a live Q&A with a major philanthropist? Oh and I can’t forget this session on ‘hands across the water’, which will give some tips from our fundraising friends in the USA. 

2. How do I change my approach to reach the millennial generation and encourage them to give major donations to my charity? 

The growing millennial population want to have an entirely different interaction with charities, whether that’s through a focus on volunteering or with better use of technology. This session on ‘Fundraising from the next generation’ will explore the trends and hear from a panel of experts, including millennials and those who work closely with them, on how best to support this group to build brilliant relationships with your organisation. 

3. How do I get my Trustees involved with securing major donors and giving themselves? 

I think most organisations would put their hands up and say they find it hard to get their Trustees involved with fundraising, whether that’s giving themselves or helping to secure major donations. This session on ‘Trustees and Fundraising’ will hear from a number of experts on how to get the most of your Board, their skills and networks. Senior volunteers outside of the Trustee board are also vital for success in major donor fundraising, from Fundraising Boards to Event Committees. This session on ‘valuing senior volunteers’ will look at how the MS Society grew philanthropy and special events income by working more closely with senior volunteers. 

As I sit at the same desk that I was at this time last year, I note the change around me over the last year. I’m so proud that many of the ideas that have been developed by my team came from learnings at the Convention last year – from a thank you video that was so well received by a funder instead of another long report to a new Board full of young emerging leaders to support the charity. Now, as we come up to Convention again, I’m excited about what we will all take away this year that I’ll be looking back on a year from now. 

Amy Sweeting is Head of Major Gifts at Missing People.

View the full Fundraising Convention programme here.

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