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Capability Company

A Message from our President

May 2014

Dear Colleague,

I recently left a meeting at which an executive with a nonprofit organization received word about a new donor's gift. The staff person who called was too excited to wait for the executive to return to the office, and the executive was eager to share the news with colleagues. Everyone's day was a little better because of the donor's act, even those of us not directly impacted by the gift.

That conversation made me think a bit about the donations I make throughout the year. Some are small, others are larger, but they all feel meaningful to me...and I hope they are meaningful to the organizations. But, what makes a donor a "good" donor? It can't be the amount, so it must be the person. Maybe there are some basic qualities or behaviors that we can incorporate into our giving that can make us all "good" donors? I stewed about it for the afternoon and came to the realization that there were 3 basic concepts that made the difference for me. Read on, and let me know your thoughts.

As always, we want to hear about your programs, news, and needs. Send us items for our calendar and connect us with organizations who could use our assistance. We are here for you.

All the best,

Sherry Heuser
President, Capability Company

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Article of the Month

Word count: 375
Approximate Reading Time: 2 Minutes

How to be a Good Donor: 3 Easy Suggestions

by Sherry Heuser

It sounds easy to donate - find an organization you like and write them a check. In its simplest state, that's all that needs to happen. But, to be a good donor, you should spend a little more time getting to know the organization and making your gift meaningful. "Meaningful" doesn't require it to be a six-figure (or even a four- or five-figure) investment; it requires you to pay attention and follow through.

Three basic to-do's when donating to a cause are to ask, to care, and to give. Together, these considerations can put you in a better position to make a gift that truly helps and to strengthen your relationship with the organization.

1. Ask. Ask what their greatest needs are and where a donation would have the most value. Ask what amount is needed. Ask what partnerships they have that could match or extend your gift to increase its impact. Ask what they will do with the money. Ask the best process and timing for providing the gift. Ask how (and if) you can be involved with the organization.

2. Care. Care about what the organization tells you they need. Care about what they will do with the money. Care about the staff that manages the donation process and their internal requirements. Care about those who will benefit from the gift. Care about how you can continue to help with future donations, volunteer time, connections in the community, or other support.

3. Give. Give the donation as you have planned or agreed to with staff. Give opportunities for the organization to stay in touch with you. Give time to connect with the organization and become more familiar with its mission and work. Give permission to share the news of your generosity.

There is more that goes into being a good donor than simply writing a check, but it isn't difficult to show your support as a true partner of an organization, regardless of the size of your donation. Learning about needs, caring about your connection, and giving of yourself and your resources are basic building blocks to a great donor-recipient relationship. You don't need to start big, you just need to start.

Bottom Line: Good donors are easily made - just ask, care, and give.

Sherry Heuser is president of Capability Company Consulting, a Raleigh, N.C.-based firm supporting nonprofit organizations' searches for key hires.

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Article of the Month
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A Client's Perspective

"Capability Company's work...helped us view the current organization through different eyes.”

Marsha Basloe
Durham's Partnership for Children, a Smart Start Initiative


Heard Around Town

"Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."

~ Author Unknown

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