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If Mr. Hyde was a Fundraiser

We’re all familiar with the classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson of the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll and his evil persona, Mr. Hyde. The good and evil sides to one person is a great story and one that is very relatable.

Fundraisers are taught to be donor-centric and to respect the donor’s intent. Let’s admit it, we have likely seen or worked with fundraisers who didn’t uphold those standards. I’ll call them the Mr. Hyde fundraiser.

Here’s how our Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde might operate as a fundraiser.

Mr. Hyde:

  • “Look, you’re over 80 and have no kids, time to include us in your will.”

  • “Congratulations! You’re going to give a big gift; you just don’t know it yet.”

  • “I’m calling you because you scored really high on our wealth screening. Lucky you!

  • “Congratulations on selling your business! How large of a gift are you us giving, right now?

  • “Hey team, this one is low-hanging fruit! Let’s go get him.”

  • “Hey, prospective major donor, I’ve taken you to lunch three times, are giving me that gift or what.”

On the other hand, Dr. Jekyll might say,

  • “You’ve shared with me many times how much you believe in the work we do with children. Your legacy gift would make a huge difference to the children we serve. “

  • Let the donor offer to make the gift.

  • “Mrs. Johnson, thank you for calling me, about the stock gift you want to make.”

  • How can I help you?

  • “Thank you for meeting with me, Mr. Garcia. I appreciate that your friend, Ms. Olsen, to make the introduction.”

  • “Congratulations on the sale of your business!”

  • Let the donor share how they might invest in your organization.

Let’s keep Dr. Jekyll in the forefront and remember our duty as fundraisers to our organization and to our donors:

  • Cultivate with care

  • Listen to our donors

  • Appreciate our donors

  • Show the impact of their gifts

  • Be donor-centric


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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