Connect With Your Wealth Advisers to Reach New Prospects
Recently, I attended an activity for volunteers. The purpose of the event was for our volunteers to help stuff backpacks for needy children. Although it is June, in Indiana, some school systems begin in late July. When I went to school, I was released the first week of June and did not return to school until after Labor Day in September. Times have changed in that regard.
Volunteers who participated in this event included people who always help when asked, members of various advisory board committees, service groups, donors and prospects. As a staff member, I also participated in the activity.
At this event, I spent a great deal of time with a financial executive who is on one of our development-related committees. It did not occur to me until midway through this activity that one of his financial clients was one of our organization’s major prospects.
In this case, both the prospect and wealth adviser told me as they were leaving how much they enjoyed their involvement. In fact, they were the last to leave. It was a win-win scenario all the way around.
The smiles and response following this hands-on event proved to me that this type of activity is vitally important. It is all about building relationships. I am certain this event, along with other touch points with prospects, will pay off in gifts to our organization down the road.
When I worked for a hospital system, a wealth adviser who happened to be on the foundation board helped generate a gift of more than $1 million from a donor because of his personal relationship with the hospital, plus his personal relationship with the prospect. The wealth adviser happily engaged his client/our prospect with the organization, and without his full support, success would not have been possible.
I can cite numerous other scenarios when I encouraged financial planners, bankers, attorneys, accountants and other like professionals to join my orbit. My strategy was to engage them in the organization first and then ask them to open doors with prospects later.
A byproduct of this partnership was the fact that these individuals made personal gifts to the organization and volunteered their involvement before bringing others along. They needed to be sold on the importance of the organization and had to trust my intentions.
I used different techniques to bring wealth advisers into the fold. At times, it was a meeting with the organization’s CEO or me. Other times, I created gift clubs and special committees, as well as continuing-education webinars for continuing-education credits. I also asked advisers to present various topics of their expertise to my organizational donors and prospects. I surveyed these professionals and encouraged them to host their peer professional groups at my organization, where I would pick up lunch just to spend a few minutes to engage them. I constantly sent organizational information to them. I sought their advice, counsel and guidance. I continually recognized them and thanked them. When I felt their involvement was over, I attempted to replace them by recruiting similar members into the fold.
In my first development job at the University of Louisville, I was director of estate and gift planning. I quickly used my marketing degree by establishing a planned-giving marketing committee consisting of professional wealth advisers. They eventually helped me own the process and opened doors for me to meet potential significant prospects capable of doing annual, major and planned gifts at the same time. I learned it is much easier to have a professionals provide you with their connections, organizational interests and professional expertise than attempting to go alone.
The point of this story is to engage wealth advisers and seek volunteer opportunities for them where they and their clients/your prospects can get their hands dirty through volunteering with your organization.
By having wealth professionals provide their time, talent and treasure, they will see the mission and understand where their contributions will go. It is an important investment for them.
I am blessed to work with outstanding staff members who understand that we love wealth advisers who open doors to prospects. Our continuous challenge is to provide opportunities for this exchange to occur.
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.