Case Study:

A relationship brings
$55,000 more to an organization

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Here's a great story about how relationships lead to unexpected result$. Thanks to Jim LaJoie, MPA, Major Gifts and Planned Giving Manager, Marquette General Foundation, who told me this story during my recent workshop at the Crescendo Interactive conference in Chicago.
Here's the story:

Jim decided to keep in touch with one of his donors who had given annual gifts along with a sizable will/estate gift and called to ask her to lunch. She said, 'It's nice to hear from you, Jim, but I don't think it's necessary to go to lunch - I support the Foundation and you know your organization is in the will.'

He said, 'I enjoy your company very much and just want to catch up with what's happening in your life and swap stories. ' Over lunch, they discussed Jim's mother's Alzheimer's disease and she told me about how she coped with her mother's Alzheimer's. 'You need to establish a routine with your mom," she said, "which will be very important in the later stages. I always bring mashed potatoes and gravy to a dear friend who has Alzheimer's. She looks forward to that every time I come.' Jim said that he was starting to develop a routine with his mom and said that was great advice.

When they returned from lunch, the donor asked if she could come and sit down in Jim's office. When she sat down, she opened up her checkbook and began writing a check. Jim said, 'You know, I want to be clear ' this was not a solicitation lunch in any way. I just wanted to have lunch with you because I enjoy your company.' The donor responded, 'I know that, Jim. I really enjoy talking to you, too, and I'm in a position to help the Foundation.'

The result: a personal check for $5,000, which followed a previous $10,000 gift and an added $50,000 gift in her will.

Jim's conclusion: Take an interest in people and you will get much more than you ever imagined.

So often, we take people's annual gifts and bequests for granted. Instead of a thank-you note, call some of your donors and connect with them on a personal level. Let me know if you have a wonderful experience like this - we'd like to add it to the stories in the Free Resources section of our website.

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