That means cultivating donors requires more care than ever. Here, Germain provides five steps to efficient and effective donor cultivation, as well as ways fundraisers can capitalize on the newfound optimism in the sector even in the midst of budget cuts.
The identification of donors is the first step in donor cultivation, Germain says. You must understand who donors are in terms of generation, personal attributes, how they like to communicate and what their capacities to give are.
“You might start to identify someone who may be young in terms of age and career and may not be able to afford to give a lot, however might be very willing to volunteer,” Germain says. “So identify what is this particular individual’s capacity to give — whether it’s financial, whether it’s in time commitment, whether it’s another mechanism for contributing to the organization.
“Identify your donors. Who are the ones that are most likely to become major donors? Who has the giving capacity as well as the interest in your cause? Use the data to quickly identify if this is someone who has great giving potential, and start to cultivate them appropriately,” he adds.
Once you’ve identified donors and understand how to categorize them and how best to communicate with them, make sure you send them information that’s pertinent to their interests, Germain says, for proper cultivation.
“If I’ve told you that I’m interested in investing in water wells in Africa, then don’t send me information about saving whales because that’s not what I’m interested in,” Germain says. “Communicating effectively with pertinent messages based on what you’ve learned is key. Not only is it efficient, but it communicates efficiency to the donor, who will feel that their money is well-spent — as opposed to their money being squandered by sending information that’s not pertinent to that donor’s particular interests.”