Major (and Other) Gift Prospects: Creating the Relationship

Sections of this topic

    To paraphrase a posting from a listserve: “If you are going to get someone to want to become a (major) donor to your organization, you have to start with ‘where they’re at,’ and ‘where you’re at.

    [I put “major” in parentheses because I want to be sure that it is
    understood that the concept applies to all potential donors …
    more so the larger the gift being sought, but it does apply to all.
    See previous posts on Donor Acquisition and Donor Retention.]

    We each/all go about connecting with others by showing different parts of who (and what) we are. Different things are important to each of us, so we focus-on and talk-about those things that have significance for us.

    In Development, the primary focus in the creation of the relationship (that will, ideally, lead to significant support of the nonprofit) is an understanding of the needs of the (potential) donor – where she/he ‘is at.’

    On August 5th, I posted a piece on “Establishing the Right Relationships.” In that posting I noted that, “If you want the major gifts, there has to be a one-on-one relationship with the (prospective) donor; and that, typically, said relationship is with a current major donor and/or a board member.”

    I also discussed the Cultivation (getting to know you) process that takes place between the “Cultivator” and the “Prospect.”

    What was not discussed was the selection of the “Cultivator.”

    In most cases you could assign almost any board member or major donor to be the point-person for the cultivation of a prospective major donor, but why leave to chance any factors that you can “control” from the beginning??

    “Compatibility” is the key.

    It would be best to pair up cultivators and prospects who have similar likes, dislikes, backgrounds, attitudes, etc. With the appropriate pairing, relationships are likely to “happen” more quickly than if just “any” cultivator is assigned to a prospect.

    And, to state the obvious, you (should) already have all the information you need about the likes, dislikes, etc. of your board members and major donors. This is where “you’re at.” This is where you start.

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    We’ve been posting these pieces for the last five years,
    and we’re now at a point where, to keep this “blog” alive,
    we need your questions/problems to engender further discussion.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Comments & Questions

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