Greenville residents Gregg and Stacey Bacchieri made news in February of this year when they presented a $1 million gift to Christiana Care for cancer research. More than a measure of gratitude for the care Gregg received at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center after his diagnosis of head and neck cancer, the gift was meant to serve as an impetus to others who might be in a position to contribute in a significant way to Delaware’s nonprofits.
Decisions about major gifts are based on a number of personal factors, which Stacey shared as a panelist at Wilmington’s National Philanthropy Day on November 15th at the Chase Center. The event was sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Delaware.
Like other panelists in the “Donors Across Generations” session, the Bacchieris have developed their own personal guidelines for giving. And they have advice for nonprofits about cultivating donor relationships that can land a major gift.
Town Square Delaware sat down with Stacey to find what inspires her family to donate and their advice for fundraising professionals.
Town Square Delaware: How do you decide which nonprofits you and Gregg would like to donate to?
Stacey Bacchieri: Gregg and I make our decisions based on three different factors — something that touches our lives, something that speaks to our hearts, or a friend request.
Something that touches my life would be Ursuline Academy, because I went to high school there, and I feel like Ursuline has been a big part of my life and has formed the person I have become. I am proud of that and I want to give back to the school.
Another thing that has touched our lives is cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, and Gregg is currently struggling with head and neck cancer. All four of our parents have had cancer as well. So we are big supporters of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, and I was on the Board of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition for 12 years.
As for something that touches our hearts, Gregg and I both have a lot of compassion for children who are in need. So Serviam Girls Academy, Nativity Prep and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware are all organizations that are close to our hearts.
As an example of a friend request, I have a close friend who is very passionate about Faithful Friends Animal Society. And although I am not a major donor, I am a continued donor. And it’s important to have those mid-level donors in an organization as well.
TSD: What is the best experience you’ve had as a donor?
Bacchieri: Gregg and I contributed to the renovation of the gym at Serviam Academy, and it’s wonderful for us to go to events and see how the gym is used — not only for sporting events but also for social events and many other purposes for the students. The girls eat breakfast and lunch in the gym, and they have their holiday services there. So it makes us very happy to know that that space has many different uses and that all of the girls enjoy it.
TSD: What makes an organization stand out and attract you to giving at a higher level?
Bacchieri: We look at organizations where you can see the results and make a difference in the lives of the people they serve and give hope for the future. We also like to see that the organizations we give to are growing and evolving in a way that will have an impact on the future.
TSD: What can nonprofits do to take care of their donors?
Bacchieri: All of the nonprofits we donate to definitely do a good job of making sure everyone is thanked and showing how their dollars have helped. For example, we really appreciated participating in the unveiling of Serviam Academy’s new donor wall. It was a wonderful celebration. We appreciate organizations that try to cultivate the relationship.
TSD: Does an organization ever reach a tipping point by asking for too large a gift or asking too often?
Bacchieri: That’s very important, and yes – there are organizations that have reached out too often and there are sometimes too many asks in a year. All of the panelists thought that organizations should place no more than three phone calls to ask to meet with a donor. I think some organizations send out too many emails, mailings and asks in the same year, and they should be cognizant of that.