For Valentine’s Day, Love Your Supporting Cast!
Many professionals at a certain age remember the show "I Love Lucy." Each week, Lucy Ricardo would get into trouble and drag her husband, Ricky, into the same situation. From time to time, faithful but unassuming neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz would either be part of the problem or come to the rescue and save Lucy for another week. The focus was always on Lucy with help from Ricky. Yet, if you watched the show you felt that you needed to see Fred and Ethel to balance the ensemble. In many ways each show has a cast that is the sum of its parts.
Fundraising professionals always seek to understand prospects. Is it the husband, wife or both? Who is the decision-maker in the family? One key question is how much research can be obtained to give us vital strategy information. While we focus on the main prospects, we tend to forget or disregard the importance of others in the prospect's life that could influence a gift or possibly the size of a gift to your organization. You never know the impact others have on your potential donors.
If you think about it, your goal is to obtain a long-term relationship with each prospect and eventual donor. In a way, you are the director of many sitcoms involving hundreds of people. You promote activities on a daily and weekly basis. While you seek a long-term engagement with prospects and donors, the depth of engagement and length of an extended relationship intensifies with the size of a gift. For example, you may have a semiannual or annual meeting with donors of $5,000 or so. When seeking six- and seven-figure gifts, you must know the donors and everyone in their ensembles, if that is possible. Plan on a strategy that involves continuous touchpoints.
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 email@example.com or 317-224-1029.