The 5 C's for Cultivating Major Donors
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In her session at Fund Raising Day in New York last month, Ann LaForge, director of institutional advancement at The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine, shared her "5 C's" strategy for success in cultivating major donors for a small shop nonprofit organization.
Here are the 5 C's.
1. Clarify your goals and objectives — in writing
For instance, the goals are to:
- Raise money: Why? When? Who. How?
- Make friends: Why? When? Who? How?
- Increase the number of donors: Why? When? Who? How?
2. Cozy up to your board
- Who are your board members? What are their areas of expertise?
- Do they understand the mission of your development office?
- Are they up-to-date on your current campaign?
- Are they donors?
- Do they know any potential donors?
- Do they need any development training?
- When are they available to assist you with asks?
3. Complete your homework
- Identify your major-gift prospects. Who are they? What do they do? What are their interests, passions, hobbies, talents and other philanthropic commitments? What makes them tick?
- Google them, or run them through a prospect research database.
- Enlist board and other community members in fringing each profile.
- Get the best database software you can afford, and use it.
4. Cultivate and communicate
Know when the last time major-gift prospects/donors received:
- A publication from you.
- A phone call.
- A personal e-mail.
- A handwritten note from your executive director or a board member.
- A personalized gift acknowledgment.
- An invitation for a special event.
- An invitation for coffee or a sit-down, face-to-face get-together.
5. Come prepared
- Bring the best partner in.
- Inspire him or her.
- Then ask!