Your Next $200,000 Gift Could be Waiting in Your Spam Folder

Dawn Robinson, CFRE, Cramer & Associates, Senior Consultant

Does your organization have a ‘Contact Us’ page or an email? How often do you check them or take the time to respond to those who reach out this way?

I know, I know… a lot of spam comes through these forms and emails, but let me tell you a quick story.

In the philanthropic world, we are taught to NEVER judge a book by its cover. Well, we should also not ignore the Contact Us forms and info@ emails, as you never know who might be typing that email and their desire to truly make a difference in our community and our world.

In January of this year, we had a client receive an inquiry on their website that read, “I heard you’re doing great things for our community; and I also heard you’re doing a capital campaign. Could someone contact me so I can learn more?”

The person had an old email address, and the name was not a recognizable donor name in the community, but the Executive Director was meeting with us on a Zoom call when they received the email, so we thought – let’s email them.

Fast-forward 45 days later, and because of this random inquiry on the organization’s website, a leadership level gift of $200,000 was secured for the capital campaign.

At Cramer, this is what we refer to as an “angel donor.” A donor who is not a typical suspect, has never given to the organization previously, but just randomly hears about the good work happening, reaches out and makes an instant impact!

Over the years, we could tell you countless stories of angel donors, but the common denominator with all angel donors is “they HEARD about XYZ organization doing great things in the community.”

We say it time and time again, nonprofit organizations must have an integrated marketing and development plan in order for your fundraising efforts to be successful. Whether it’s an annual appeal, sponsorship to an event or a capital campaign, if no one hears about the amazing work you’re doing, how can they find you and give?

Oh, and to make the $200,000 gift even better, when we asked how the family would like to be recognized, the angel donor said, “No, it should be us thanking YOU for the incredible work you do in the community. If you want to thank anyone, thank God, as he gave us this incredible opportunity to give to others and charities who need us.”


Cramer & Associates is a nationally recognized philanthropic consulting firm that has been serving nonprofit organizations, corporations and foundations since 1987. Our full-service firm offers clients a wide range of services, including feasibility studies, campaigns, strategic planning, board training, development audits, events, executive searches and much more. The Cramer Team identifies organizations’ strengths and opportunities and develops campaigns that succeed, empowering organizations to impact their communities.

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