Photo Credit: Pexels by Lukas

Article By Richard Perry

One tiny report makes a tremendous amount of difference. Because it closes the giving loop.

Read these stories in which major gifts officers (MGOs) either successfully reported back or didn’t. The contrast is stunning.

Those who closed the loop and told their donor that their gift made a difference had the following experiences:

  • A $5,000 donor was asked for $6,000 but gave $75,000.
  • A $10,000 donor gave $100,000.
  • A donor who gave $100,000 the previous year gave $350,000 and then gave another $250,000 two months later.

What is the critical difference? Telling the donor that their gift made a difference. That’s it. Nothing more. Just that act alone is a powerful input to the donor as they realize that what they dreamed about doing actually happened.

And then there is this story.

A donor had regularly been giving $400,000 a year to a specific project in a Midwestern city you would immediately recognize if I mentioned it.

The MGO had done a fantastic job of matching the donor’s passions and interests to this project, and that is why the donor got on board.

But the MGO could not get that “you made a difference” information from the program people in order to pass it along to the donor. He tried and tried but no good and specific information was forthcoming.

So, yep, you guessed it. This good donor, who has been giving a substantial amount every year, just went away.


So that she could give somewhere else and know she made a difference through her giving.

One tiny report makes a tremendous difference. But for some reason it just does not happen as it should more times than you will believe. It is a disease we have in the nonprofit world. We are good at getting money. But we have, essentially, made very little progress on fulfilling the promise that the donor would make a difference if they gave.

Let me personalize a bit. How do you feel when you do something for someone, and they never talk back? How do you feel when you write someone an email — someone who is a good friend — and they just ignore you? How do you feel when you thought you had a good, mutual, transparent relationship with someone and then you find out you don’t?

You feel terrible. You feel betrayed. You feel diminished. And it hurts.

That is what happens when you’ve worked so hard on the front end to get the donor to give the money but there is silence or, at the most, inadequate response on the back end.

Think about this dynamic with all your caseload donors. How can you close the giving loop in the coming weeks?