Originally published in the February 19, 2016 AHP Connect
The following article is based on an AHP webinar presented on January 20, 2016, by Thomas Garrow, president of the Garrow Company, and Jeanne Jachim, president of the Virginia Mason Foundation in Seattle.
Donor-centered philanthropy endeavors to shift prospect cultivation toward the interests of donors rather than the needs of the organization seeking the donation. A donor-centered process can lead to larger gifts and more repeat gifts because it more fully engages and fulfills the donor’s need for recognition and desire to positively affect matters that are important to her or him.
In their recent AHP webinar, Tom Garrow and Jeanne Jachim present an approach to donor- centered philanthropy that emphasizes the value of uncovering what they call “The Prize.” Garrow describes the prize as “that experience of personal attention, demonstration of how much particular people (hospital CEO, doctor, nurse, etc.) value the donor as a person, public recognition and/or proof of impact that combine to reward the donor for making a gift.”
The prize is not material. It recognizes that philanthropy is a behavioral response to a set of needs, ranging from pure altruism to various degrees of self-interest—including the need for friendship, the need for recognition or the need to fulfill a sense of obligation to give back to the community.
Pull vs. push
Jachim characterizes this tactic as a “pull-system”— somewhat akin to the customer-centered experience of shopping in a grocery store—as opposed to traditional moves-management steps by which fundraisers try to push prospects to a point where a solicitation can be made.
“You start with this notion of what does the donor ultimately want to get to—what is their prize—and then you work backward,” she says, “so that you’re saying: What would it take to increase this person’s passion and engagement based on their own personal interest?”
To give structure to this approach, Jachim and Garrow draw on two complementary management methodologies: “LEAN” and “Design Process.” Both originated in the manufacturing and construction industries, but today are finding applications in a host of enterprises—from education and health care to philanthropy.
LEAN focuses on increasing quality and safety, increasing customer satisfaction, decreasing cost, eliminating waste and increasing staff satisfaction by reducing the burden of work. As applied to major gift cultivation, LEAN calls for achieving customer satisfaction by ensuring that the donor’s interest—the prize—is always the central driving factor.