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The Missing Ingredient in Your Major Gifts Effort

Reprinted from the Fired-Up Fundraising Blog

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in the office? The problem is—you're not going to raise any money there.

You need to spend quality time getting to know your donors.

You've got to get out in front of donors.

Many of my colleagues complain that they just aren't out making the calls on donors they need to make.

They know it's the missing ingredient in implementing their fundraising plans.

The #1 Secret of Raising Lots of Money? Face Time with Donors

The problem (or opportunity) is that there's no substitute for face-to-face customer/donor contact.

How else can you forge a deep relationship? How else can you use your radar to learn more about the donor's interests and inclinations?

And if you consider the Lifetime Value of a major donor to your organization—it might be easier to justify getting out there and visiting with them.

Why is it so hard to be out of the office?

Immediate priorities keep pulling at you. And they take you pretty much nowhere.

Don't let yourself get stuck in the office!

Yes, you're working on your direct mail program, writing thank you letters, solving problems, setting up your next event, even reading this blog—but none of this will raise the really big money you need.

As Ayda Sanver, the very smart ED of the CSAAC Foundation in Maryland told me a couple of weeks ago—“You can't raise money in your office!”

She's out there all the time visiting with potential and current donors. Yes!

The Data: It Really DOES Pay to Schmooze

The Neuromarketing blog recently ran an article “It Really Does Pay to Schmooze.

They cited an experiment that tested the difference between establishing a personal connection and not establishing it.

They found that when students socialized before doing business, the odds were far greater that they would strike a successful “win-win” deal.

Take a look at this chart—you can see that establishing a social connection with your customer/donor makes all the difference in your ultimate success.

They said: “Good, old-fashioned face time can have a significant impact on trust and behavior.”

So what's your plan for getting out of the office?

Here's Your Plan

1. Set a goal for each month.

Set the number of visits you plan to make each month. Is it 12, 8, 20? (If you are not a CEO, then you should make a minimum of 12, I think.)

You will never get ANYWHERE without this goal.

2. Enlist internal support.

Tell all your coworkers about your goal and ask them to push you out of the office. You've got to have internal support.

Sometimes non-fundraising staff will raise their eyebrows about our need to get out of the office. I used to sense subtle disapproval from some coworkers when I was a staffer.

So be sure everyone knows what your job is and why it's important to be out there.

3. Make it a big deal.

Talk about your visits, and your goal. Get your CEO behind you. Get your board behind you.

Tell everybody that you need to make a certain number of visits each month. Ask for their help.

Who needs a face-to-face meeting? What wonderful donor needs to be thanked in person? Who has tons of potential and needs more cultivation?

(If he or she is smart, your boss will make this a management tool and will ask to see monthly reports on your progress against goals.)

4. Just do it.

Draw a line in the sand and make a personal commitment.

I send out my Friday newsletter come hell or high water. (Or hurricanes!) I just do it.

No matter what's going on in my life or business, my newsletter comes out.

And it has made all the difference in the world- to my thinking—to my marketing—to my professional development.

So just think what you could accomplish if you had a lot of major prospects under cultivation. How much more money could you raise?

Bottom Line

Here's your motto: “If it's to be, it's up to me.”

You can do it! Just make the commitment.

Gail Perry, MBA, CFRE
© 2011, Gail Perry. Reprinted from the Fired-Up Fundraising Blog. Reprinted with permission.

missing-ingredient-in-major-gifts-effort_gail-perry.jpgGail Perry is the author of Fired Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action and founder of Gail Perry Associates, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based consulting and training firm.



Topics: Fundraising