Strategies for Cultivating Affluent Donors
One of the first steps to securing major gifts is honing in on affluent individuals capable of giving large gifts. But once that’s done, cultivating major gifts from these potential givers requires careful, personal touches. And it’s important to remember that not all of these potential major donors give for the same reason and respond to the same solicitation approaches.
The book “The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors” by Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File, presents a donor-centered approach to understanding affluent donors, categorizing them into seven different motivational types.
The beginning chapters of the book focus on the specific characteristics of those who fall in each motivational group. Chapter 9 then looks at the nitty-gritty of building relationships with the seven personalities and provides interesting, hands-on strategies to fundraisers for how to communicate successfully with them.
Here, a summary of the seven motivational types and communication techniques that fundraisers can use to elicit a positive response and nurture them to give major gifts:
1. Communitarians are those who see doing good as making sense. Civic responsibility is a major motivator. Fundraisers should reassure them of their connection to the local community, acknowledge the leadership role of the Communitarians in the community and demonstrate that the organization is well managed.
2. Devout see doing good as God’s will. Fundraisers should use positive images connected with religious traditions such as God, duty, service, mission and values.
3. Investors see doing good as good business. According to the authors, “Investors want to hear positive images such as the sound financial management, the productivity, and the efficiency of the organization. Investors look for signals of professionalism and a businesslike approach in conversations with nonprofits.”
4. Socialites see doing good as fun. Fundraisers will find success communicating positive images of special events and fundraising activities. “By communicating positive images of ‘supporting each other,’ ‘serving the community’ and ‘fellowship’ to Socialites,” the authors write, “fundraisers enhance their chances of success.”
5. Altruists do good because it feels right. Positive images such as self-fulfillment and a sense of purpose are themes altruists respond favorably to. Themes like social responsibility and doing good also resonate with them.
6. Repayers do good in return for good being done them. The authors recommend fundraisers use wording that expresses their empathy with the Repayers’ own experience — phrases like “I can see that it made a difference in your life.” It also helps to connect Repayers’ past experiences to the experiences of others.
7. Dynasts view doing good as a family tradition. Older Dynasts are influenced heavily by the actions of others in their class, while younger Dynasts “prefer making an independent mark in the world of philanthropy,” the authors write. Fundraisers should acknowledge the unique status of Dynasts and communicate positive images that convey an understanding of family history and tradition.
“The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors” by Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File. 2001, Jossey-Bass. $26. www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0787960578.html