Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cultivation equals Relationship Building

How are you at making new friends?  That skill alone can make or break your development efforts...seriously.

Your organization hosted a Trivia Night and had 40 "guests" in attendance who came with a friend or colleague.  These 40 guests were not previously in our data base and therefore not on our radar.

At your event, as all good development people should,  you made an ask of attendees beyond the auction and ticket sales, to donate to your cause.

Of those 40, ten did make a small contribution and two individuals made a more substantial first gift.

These 40 should be added into your data base and proper research done; however, your primary attention should be given to the 12 who gave.

Depending on your time and staff, you might choose to meet each of twelve in person but definitely you must, you must meet the two who gave larger gifts in person.  Invite them and the person who invited them to the trivia night to coffee one morning to get to know them better.

The remaining ten need, in addition to their formal tax letter receipt, a personal thank you note from  YOU.

Finally, the next time you do an email solicitation or direct mail solicitation, include the remaining trivia-based contacts and reference in the solicitation the trivia event where they first came in contact with your organization.

Back to your 12 now hot prospects.  These folks are you newest donors.  They need to be stewarded carefully.  This is why you would want to visit the two (I would visit the 12) in person.  

Why a visit you ask?  You need to get to know them...truly.  Begin to build a long-lasting relationship.  In most visits, you need to come prepared to give any additional information about your organization.  Your primary purpose, though, is listening.  Do they have a story which connects them personally to the purpose of your organization?  Share a bit about you and listen to a lot about them.

Follow your visit with a personal thank you.  

Stewardship at this point will also include the added things you would do for a friend.  For example, did you see something in the paper that Susie Supporter, one of your two larger gifts from Trivia Night, mentioned when you visited her.  Cut that piece out and send it to her with a note.  If it is electronic, email it to her with a note.  

When the next Trivia Night rolls around, you can count on Susie to return...and hopefully bring more friends.  

In addition to Trivia, you will want to include Susie and all of your new donors in your complete development plan and roll them into your planned communications for current/new donors.  

The remaining new friends who did not make a donation fall into your prospect pool which also deserves attention to turn your prospects into donors.  

You will never turn them all into donors but you will gain some, you will also gain publicity that only word-of-mouth can grant.  Susie, and all of the 40 for that  matter, will share what they did Friday night and this new organization to which they were introduced.  

Development relationship building really is like making a new friend...finding out more about them and in the process point them to areas of funding that most closely reflect their goals and desires for giving.


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