By Kathie Kramer Ryan – Arroyo Fundraising
As a fundraiser, you may hear about “donor cultivation” or “building relationships with your donors,” so you can raise more money – but what does that really mean?
This post shares 3 simple ideas for connecting with your donors. Each touch point helps you build a broad base of donor interest, engagement in your mission, and trust in how you do your work, all culminating (ideally) in a gift to your organization.
1. The “Get to Know You” Meeting
Get to know your prospect while they get to know you and your organization. Start by introducing your cause, mission and organization to a new prospect. Keep your “presentation” succinct and include stories or testimonials that show impact.
Be prepared with plenty of open-ended questions to keep the conversation rolling. (What do you know about our organization? How did you first hear of us? What other organizations are you and your family involved with in the community? Why?) Then, listen!
2. Work With Us!
Work-with-us opportunities give your donors a hands-on view of your organization’s work. A natural history museum invites major donors to help dig for dinosaur bones. Donors serve as special guest readers to young children at an early childhood education center’s story time. These opportunities can be magical ways to increase engagement. Your donors see and feel your organization in action because they are right in the middle of it, as opposed to you telling them about it.
3. Advice Visit
This is one of my favorites. Have you heard the saying, “If you want advice, ask for money and if you want money, ask for advice?” Asking a prospect for advice draws them closer to your organization.
Be sure to come to the meeting with a list of specific questions. Here’s a challenge we’re up against and here’s how we’re addressing it – what do you think? What could we be doing better? Who else should be talking to in the community?
Can you plug any of these touch points into your individual cultivation plans for major donors or prospects?