Fundraising—and major gift fundraising in particular—takes time. That said, there are ways to build efficiencies into your program. Recently I shared 5 tips you can use right now to start raising big gifts in less time. Here are 5 more:
1. Spend more time with fewer prospects
Do you feel like you’re connecting a little bit with your donors but not enough to inspire them to really engage with your nonprofit or increase the size of their gift? Maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin when it comes to building relationships with your donors.
Instead of trying to touch everyone on your prospect/donor list, try spending more time with fewer prospects and donors. How? Certainly everyone on your list can receive your e-newsletter. But save your high-touch relationship building interactions (think personal calls, emails, in-person visits) for your top prospects. To learn how to determine your list of top prospects, check out Linkage, Interest and Ability.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel
I’ve written before about the importance of creating a tailored cultivation plan for each of your top prospects. But this doesn’t mean that every plan needs to be 100% unique!
To illustrate, start by drafting a donor cultivation plan for Donor Jane. Then use Jane’s plan as a template to create a plan for Donor Sam. For example, you may have six touch points for Jane throughout the year, including one touch point that is an invitation to your annual event. If you know that Donor Sam doesn’t like events, find another touch point for Sam to replace the event invitation.
3. Track donor touch points
There’s nothing worse than preparing to visit with a top donor only to discover that your file on that person is empty. You need the history of this donor’s relationship to your nonprofit but you don’t have it. When did we last meet with them? What did we talk about? Have they visited our program in the past?
Help ensure that you (and others at your organization) have this information at the ready simply by recording any and all interactions you have with your donors. This is where your donor management system, aka database, comes in handy. It’s best to record your donor visits in your database as soon after it’s happened as possible. Don’t wait until tomorrow, the next day or next week, as the longer you wait the less likely you’ll get it done. (That’s my voice of experience speaking!)
4. Engage your board
Engaging volunteers may not sound like a timesaver but when it’s done right, it can work! But don’t assume your board members know how to do fundraising. It’s your job to provide them with the tools they need to successfully connect with donors, e.g., telephone scripts, email templates, and invitations to your next event.
5. Don’t try to be perfect
Trying to be perfect takes too much time. Plus, it’s an unattainable goal. So instead of writing, rewriting and re-rewriting(!) a major gift proposal, write a first draft and ask a colleague to do the edits. Or, when preparing to meet with a top prospect or donor, review your internal records (see #3 above) and conduct an external online search – but don’t spend days poring over information. It’s more important to get out the door and meet with donors than to know everything about them when you do.
Here’s to your continued success in building efficiency into your fundraising program!
Special gift for you: Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, a step-by-step guide, is available here (click).
Do you have tips to share to raise more money in less time? Please share in the Comments box below.