Yes, it takes more than a smile and a handshake when you reach out to accept that check. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot more to fundraising today.
It’s about loyalty building, donor satisfaction, connecting mission and vision. It’s about relationships with the people you are selling your concept to, servicing them, and fulfilling their dreams.
After you meet them or communicate with them in some way, get to know them, and receive permission to submit a proposal… you are on your way to cultivating a relationship that can create magic for your donor, your organization and best of all….begin a process that could initiate positive change in your community. Then you can begin to implement the following steps:
1. Design the right proposal for your donor. Don’t just wing it – take time to do your homework. How? Match your request to exactly what your right donor is passionate about. To do this you will have to do thorough research to learn everything you can about your target contributor, their history, their founder, their current goals, and their giving history.
2. Deliver the proposal for a fair cost. If you haven’t already learned, don’t pad the bid with extraneous add-ons. Donors don’t like people to treat them like ignorant schmucks. They are usually well aware of the market value of a project, and today, if they aren’t – they do their homework. They are very protective of the valuable dollars they have to give, and they want great value for their buck.
3. Recognize that many donors look at their interactions in a very personal way. Donors are buying into your project as a way to further the good of society. Often gift is awarded to a project that is very romantic in a way that relates to solving an issue that the donor has experienced personally.
4. Treat every interaction with a potential donor as a precious gift of their time. Many donors are very busy and the time granted to you is an investment in you to learn more about you and your organization. Above all, listen to them, their wishes, their dreams and their passion. They will usually tell you what they wish to achieve through you.
5. Delight your donor. Show them results – good and bad….and invite them to give you insightful counsel. Involve them in your path through the project. Ask for their advice, and listen to their input. Often times, these donors are experienced business people who have valuable lessons to teach. Their feedback to you can be invaluable.
6. Ask your donor if they will refer you to another donor for support in your project. If you fulfill their needs, donors will often be your greatest advocates.
Engaging donors with a great experience can be most rewarding and fun. It can be fascinating.