Connecting with Donors: Appointments or Disappointments?
A major goal in each fundraising shop is generating annual dollars using a variety of tactics. Most programs employ direct mail, special events, Web marketing, social media, telephone initiatives and other techniques to acquire new donors and upgrade existing donors each year.
The good news? These tactics can increase the quantity of donors and dollars, and maintain the psychology of giving each year. However, fundraisers aspiring for major or planned gifts face a challenge: They must build a relationship between the organization and the donor, and follow a process to move the donor from transactional to transformational. Transformational donors are educated, cultivated, committed and emotionally passionate about a cause they will support for life. Moving donors in this direction is where the art and science of fundraising comes into play.
Personal engagement and face-to-face appointments
Ultimately, every fundraising shop should have annual-, major- and planned-gift programs supported by development services. Even if your shop is small and focused primarily on annual gifts, targeting certain individuals for major and planned giving is essential even if your prospect pool is limited. More important than the size of your prospect pool is the need to create opportunities for engagement between your organization and each donor.
While technology is important for generating annual gifts, major-gift development is much different; donors asked to make larger gifts need more education, trust, motivation, and unique ways to interact and engage personally with the organization. Fundraising staff must be ready to create strategies for success in this arena.
To move the transactional donor (who probably gave through "impersonal" means) to a "fired-up" major-gift donor, step one is securing a face-to-face appointment. On paper, this may seem easy; after all, you're not really cold-calling since you're attempting to contact an existing donor. However, in this changing, complex and guarded world, obtaining "the first date" can be far more difficult than you might imagine.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.