Sarasota, Fla.

Imagine a school fundraising letter so personlized that it contains a quote not from just any teacher at the school, but rather from your child’s teacher. Or both your children’s different teachers. A letter that also went to the Joneses down the street, but with quotes from the Jones kids’ teachers.

Variable data imaging allows mailers to create mail pieces with different, often highly personalized text and images; its use so far has been mostly by for-profit mailers for high-value direct-mail campaigns, bills, statements and invoices. But Sarasota, Fla.-based private school The Out-of-Door Academy took a shot with it and found great success.

Nine Tips for Major-Gift Solicitors Nov. 22, 2005 By Norman Olshansky The following are nine key steps to securing major-gift donations: 1. Do your homework Make sure you are familiar with the services and programs that your organization offers. Review its points of pride (major accomplishments) and, if possible, be prepared to share a personal experience that impressed you about the special work that the organization provides. Gather important information about your prospects. Develop a profile of your prospects together with other leadership and staff. Questions to answer: What are their interests? What have they contributed to previously? What is the largest gift

When considering a major-gifts ask, the concept of donor relationship management boils down to a highly personal study of potential donors' interests, behaviors, circumstance and capacity for giving. According to consultant Norman Olshansky, this information-gathering exercise is perhaps the most important step in preparing to make the ask.

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