Eight lessons for working with female prospects or donors

Women control 51 percent of the wealth in America according to a recent article in the New York Times.  Additionally, the percentage of women earning bachelors and master’s degrees is up to 56 percent. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that women now surpass men in business ownership.  So why do we still pitch the women like they’re men when it comes to philanthropy?

I was delighted to see an article titled Eight lessons for working with female prospects or donors and remind myself of some of the gems I should know about my own gender!  Two of the lessons struck a chord with me as to why we women are a little more involved when it comes to giving.

One: Women often work collaboratively and seek the opinions of others. Be sure to include and respect the opinions of those in your donor’s close network.

Two: A major gift is not just a transaction for women. It is an experience that requires time for reflection.

Both of these lessons tell the ED or the DOD in any organization that engaging women philanthropists is going to involve a more robust cultivation process. However, some of the most accomplished fundraising programs I’ve had the privilege of being part of embraced the female perspective and are wildly successful because they facilitated an environment where women could learn, reflect and give…in the company of other women.

Kim Klein, author of Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times further makes the profound point by efficiently saying, “Good fundraising focuses on the donor, not the donation.”  Perhaps the reason why some make the mistake of only asking men for a donation or treating women like men when they do ask is because they’re operating on an antiquated fundraising model.  I bet the ad execs at Nike don’t run print ads for men’s shoes in Oprah magazine.  Let’s get on board and think about the donor.  She would really appreciate it.

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