Take 2 Hours to Increase Fundraising Success Dramatically
Take two hours today to increase your fundraising success dramatically.
If you are a CEO or chief development officer, take time today to review the list of your top 20 to 50 (depending on the scale of your organization) prospective donors.
If you don’t have one, create a draft.
If these key friends fall in your portfolio of relationships, make sure you have a planned step to reach out to each in the next two weeks. If they are a shared responsibility, reach out to those with direct contact and ask for an update on the status and next planned interaction.
This simple discipline of focusing on your top prospective donors is essential for you to fulfill your fundraising potential.
We love campaign feasibility and planning studies because we interact with great clients, meet terrific donors and gain incredible insight that then provides unsurpassed insight for the clients and their future successes.
However, in many cases, whether the organization is large or small—when we help them refresh their top prospective donor lists as a part of the study process, there are top prospects who they have not stayed close to.
Here are two examples.
A major university has a seven-figure prospect family. The owner of a company, the widow of the founder, attends every home football game. She is elderly. Her husband attended the university. She did not, but is a passionate fan. Her son, who will take over the business, did not attend the university either. She never had been invited to sit in the dean's or president’s box at a football game, and no one at this level had visited with her. This will change soon!
A small college had a prominent philanthropist as its top seven-figure lifetime donor. His giving was far and above anyone else's. As the college prepared for a campaign, board members—and even senior staff—were quite vocal (too vocal) about their future gift expectations from this donor. It is fair to say that, in their minds, the campaign hinged on him. We had a delightful visit about the institution and gained terrific insight—including the fact that the college president had not visited with this top donor in 18 months.
Know who your top prospective donors are. And, as Jerry Panas shares, keep them embraced in a warm hug from your institution. If you are not devoting the time to focus on this, then find tasks to shed so you can. By deepening these relationships, your best prospects will be asking you how they can help. This focus is essential for you to maximize the success that your worthy mission and those you serve deserve.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.