When you’re talking to a philanthropist about giving to your organization, you’d better know what question they’re answering for themselves.
Are they deciding whether to give above and beyond what they had planned to give (…this year …in their lifetimes) or are they deciding where to give money that they’ve already (psychologically) pre-allocated as philanthropic money?
Because a conversation about a philanthropic allocation is very different than a conversation about overall level of giving: the allocation conversation is more straightforward, but also a lot more bounded; the conversation around total giving is much deeper, more profound, more personal and protracted, and potentially much more powerful.
Your organization is probably much better at one of these than at the other. Both can work, you can excel at both, but first you have to know which conversation you’re having and which conversation you’d like to have.