Tech Support for Major Gifts
Process: Assign an account manager
Most major-gift fundraising models recommend that you always assign a staff account manager to each major-donor prospect. A manager will oversee cultivation of the prospect, ensuring that nothing "falls through the cracks." The account manager doesn't have to be at every meeting with the prospect, and he or she likely won't "do the ask" (at least not alone) but will be responsible for the overall development of the relationship.
Complement: Identifying an account manager makes the built-in reporting, filtering, scheduling and querying features of donor-management systems most useful from the vantage point of major-donor cultivation.
Process: Plan ahead
Cultivating major donors cannot be done haphazardly. Stick to the processes your organization recommends, but be flexible. And remember that in an ongoing major-gifts program, cultivation happens on your prospect's timeline, not yours, and certainly not your software's.
However, recognizing that the relationship will develop on your prospect's timeline doesn't mean you shouldn't define a cultivation strategy for that prospect and tentatively schedule e-mails, calls and visits. Every major-gift fundraising model indicates it is imperative to plan ahead. Just be aware that these plans are only tentative, and accept that adjustments will occur.
Complement: Areas for documenting and updating your strategy for a prospect are readily available in donor-management systems that support major-gifts fundraising efforts. These systems also offer full-featured contact and appointment tracking including automatic, editable, pop-up reminders. Tickler systems remind you and your account managers of upcoming appointments. When a tickler displays, you can complete it and enter notes and other impressions from that individual contact with your prospect, reschedule, or make any other adjustments to the appointment you deem necessary.
Amanda Mallinger Reinartz is the development manager for ResultsPlus.