Leadership for a Major Gifts Program: Part Two

Sections of this topic

    A Major Gifts Program’s Leadership: Part Two

    Once your Major Gifts Committee has created its list of “Suspects,” they must pair (on paper) those people with individuals (volunteer leaders) who know them, who have access to them, and can (and will) be involved in the process of turning those “suspects” into “prospects.” The volunteer leaders are your “Cultivators.”

    The Cultivators are the people through whom you have access to each Suspect. They are most likely to be the ideal people to be the primary cultivator of that individual. They will introduce the Suspect to your organization, bring him/her to see/participate in program activities, and do most of the educating of this new “Friend” of yours.

    These Cultivators will comprise the majority of your volunteer cadre, reporting to the Committee on their contacts with Friends, making suggestions for the substance of future contacts, and, eventually, providing significant input for deciding each Prospect’s “Ask.”

    Ideally, the Cultivator is someone who is-and-has-been involved with your organization and has already made one-or-more major gifts; but, the role of Cultivator may also be played by someone who is also in the process of being cultivated.

    In support of the above is the creation of a file for each of your new Friends, so you may record all relevant information), maintain a log of all contacts with him/her and keep a “calendar” of planned cultivation opportunities for that person.

    The Committee should meet on a fairly regular basis — the “textbook” says weekly, but the reality is likely to be less often. Those meetings would be to determine and/or modify strategies for cultivating each Friend, to hear reports on contacts that have been made since their last meeting, to “Evaluate” Prospects and set a timeframe for Solicitation, and to maintain a level of expectation for the activities of the Cultivators and Solicitors.

    Watch for our discussion of “What is Major Donor/Prospect Cultivation” — next Tuesday.
    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating, or expanding your fundraising program? With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs, and the planning studies to precede these three, I’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Contact me at AskHank@Major-Capital-Giving.com
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