Cover Story: The Art and Science of Fundraising
What to do in a situation like that? Easy, Bennett says — back off.
“Our donors tell us which way to take them,” she adds.
Once a donor jumps into the major-gifts category, however, the brakes go on and the group meets to plan very specific strategies.
“Once someone becomes a major donor, everything stops,” Bennett says. “The strategy has to be managed and highly personalized. At that point, that person has been touched by ADA in many different ways, and if it’s a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, we could lose them.”
Passing the baton
Every step of the way, the manager of each department within the development office knows that it pays to know when it’s time to hand off one of the department’s donors or prospects to another department.
It’s safe to assume that many organizations experience some level of internal competition, with managers on one giving level reluctant to share their files with the rest of the team. But sharing not only is encouraged at ADA, it’s expected.
As managing director of direct marketing, Joanne DelGiorno is the person who most often turns over her hard-earned donor names.
“The direct response marketing department has objectives to meet to make sure that we’re cultivating donors to move up the pyramid so we can pass them up to the next level of major gifts,” she explains. “We have a comfort level with doing that because we know that the major-gift staff would handle them with a personalized touch that we couldn’t give them using direct response techniques.
“At ADA, each department within the development office shares in the success of each other’s efforts, and we all benefit when a donor is happy as a result of our combined efforts,” she adds.