I think one of the greatest struggles for you as a major gift officer, and for your colleagues who work with major donors, is to be authentic. By being authentic, I mean being true to yourself and your motives when working with your donors.

People with vast amounts of money are naturally skeptical about the motives of those they encounter. Put yourself in their shoes. There are always people around them either wanting something from them or asking for help. It’s hard to know who can be trusted. “Do they really seek a relationship, or do they just want my money? Are they really interested in helping me find an expression for my charitable interests?” I’ve talked to many wealthy individuals, and this concern is on their minds constantly.

It really all boils down to “Who can I trust?” and “What do they want from me?” That is definitely not an easy space in which to live. With this bit of understanding about your donors, what does being authentic with them look like?

Download the 2012 winter issue of the free npENGAGE digital magazine to see Jeff’s six tips on how to engage major donors.

Jeff Schreifels is a Senior Partner and Co-owner at Veritus Group, a full-service major donor consulting agency. For over 20 years, Jeff has developed, planned and executed strategic fundraising and marketing programs for numerous nonprofits.

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