Major Donor Has Remorse — Nonprofit Board/CEO Failed to Meaningfully Engage Him?

After the gift is received, announced and celebrated, where does a nonprofit board and its management go from there? And whose job is it to see that the donor remains meaningfully engaged and involved in the organization? These are questions that I have been thinking about after a friend brought facts of his donor experience to my attention.


  1. Hi Eugene
    This goes back to the need for controls and checks (the basics of good governance) and the element that is a major issue in many non profits (and private companies) responsibility or lack of it.
    The premise that people give to people is right and it should be the person who attracted the major donor who is responsible for the relationship, the board should have a clear policy and procedure for how the organisation should manage and support these relationships. Major donors are very difficult to attract and the relationship with them should be high on the organisations risk register (something they should all have).
    When senior people leave an organisation it is not good enough just to pick up their work load, their responsibilities and relationships are just as important.
    Any organisation that thinks it is not worth making an extra special effort to engage positively with their major donors will (as in this case) soon see them giving to another organisation who will.
    Best wishes


    1. Mark: We are on the same page again. I am joining a new NFP board which has a number of major donors. Rest assured I am going to inquire about the “care and ” feeding of these people!!


  2. Eugene,
    Your questions do not only apply to non-profits but to general business as well. There are a dozen “buzz word” used to address what to do or should be done.

    I teach it comes to these 3-principles of business: 1- A simple thank you after the cameras, the press, and the gala affair is over. A hand written thank you card works wonders. 2- Staying in touch with the person or organization other than fund raising or holidays. How about a card in the middle of winter, spring, or summer, simply to say hello? 3- Of course, personal contact to let the person or organization know how their contribution has been used or restating the benefits received from their support.

    The comment by Mark Soundie, is appreciated in that all organizations should have a clear policy and accountability tract to manage and support relationships.

    When top people move out or on to other ventures, those who follow them must pick up a weighty work load, some feel overwhelmed trying to “fill those shoes”. What must be remembered is not all shoes come in the same size; success is achieved by effort, determination, development of personal skills, a little luck, and understanding that opportunity is seen when you are prepared to recognized it.

    Good Day,



    1. We certainly appreciate your thoughtful comments. Good and thoughtful followup is necessity when anyone does you a favor. Parents even teach that to their children. Business and nonprofits should look to their children in this respect.


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