Achieving Excellence in Face-to-Face Fundraising
As I open my copy of Henry Rosso's 1991 book, "Achieving Excellence in Fund Raising," I cannot help but read Hank's personal comment to me on the cover. He signed my book in April 1992 and said, among other things, "Let the book serve you well." I had taken classes from Hank and listened to him many times. With each passing year of experience, I still learned from the master.
After he passed away, I was blessed to visit his wife, Dottie, in their California home. His office was still in order. What I did not know was that Hank had personally interviewed Albert Einstein for his college newspaper and also covered the Hindenburg disaster as a reporter on May 6, 1937. Hank was a master of fundraising, and his words are still heard loud and clear 21 years later.
The book is excellent on so many levels. Of particular interest to me was Hank's "Ladder of Effectiveness" for solicitation of gifts. He noted that the most effective solicitation procedure is face-to-face, especially through a personal visit by a team. I am always a fan of personal, face-to-face solicitation utilizing a peer of the prospect if at all possible. Your goal is to build a relationship and obtain direct feedback to your approach and request.
According to Hank, solicitation through media or by direct mail is the least effective, as attested to by the ladder. That said, it can be effective for acquiring new donors or generating lower-level gifts. Social media has changed quite a bit in the last 15 years, and its effectiveness in this solicitation realm is increasing. The secondary benefit of marketing and institutional branding cannot be understated. In the world of major or planned gifts, face-to-face solicitation and building trust are musts. The art of communication and repeated interaction is key to ultimate success. It may take several visits to tell your story in a way that is comfortable and understood by the prospects.
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.