I’ve been thinking a lot about major gifts this week preparing for my July 29 webinar: 10 Mistake-Proof Steps to Prepare NOW for Your Next Capital Campaign. (join me at 1pm eastern for a lively discussion about raising BIG money.)
I see so very many nonprofits limping along in the major gifts category until they want to embark on a capital campaign. Then they stall because they don’t have any major donors or influential leaders ready to step up.
Here’s what you have to do right now if you ever want to raise big money.
And it’s not rocket science. It just takes commitment and focus:
- Identify 10 major potential donors. They may be foundations, corporations, individuals, organizations, government agencies, or current donors.
- Get in front of them.
- Make friends with them. Ask their advice.
- Bring them on tours. Ask them for help.
- Listen, listen, listen to them. Ask them why they care about your cause.
- Build trust by following up and doing what you say you will do when you said you would do it.
- Keep in contact with them MONTHLY – at the very minimum.
What are your roadblocks?
But, you might say, “I am too busy! My other responsibilities are vacuuming up all my time! I am running around going to meetings, creating reports, planning events, writing letters, filling out grant applications, selling tickets.”
Yes, there are always plenty of roadblocks: time traps, deadly meetings, unenlightened bosses. We all have plenty of excuses and distractions.
But I’m telling you plain and simple, unless you commit to getting in front of these donors, you’ll NEVER raise the big money your cause needs.
This type of relationship building takes time. And it takes face time. Person to person time.
Major gift and capital campaign fundraising is a BODY CONTACT SPORT.
Here’s how you make this happen:
1. Set a goal of at least three donor visits a week, no matter what is happening in the office, with your board, with your staff, in your life.
2. Get your boss and peers to buy in and support you in this. Help them understand why it’s so very important.
3. Commit to your boss in your work goals that you’ll be making 12 calls a month. (This is a scary one because you are accountable.)
4. Hold a monthly meeting with your boss to review progress on your top 1o donors and discuss next step strategies.
(This is the most important because it sets up a support and reporting mechanism. If you know you’ll be meeting with your boss monthly to review the calls you’ve made, then you will MAKE the priority!)
Implement this plan and you’ll be rewarded with close donor relationships.
You’ll have people who really care about your cause: new volunteers, new leaders, new connections, new support, and new investments. You’ll raise more money. You’ll also have warm personal friendships with some wonderful people.
Fundraising can be so very, very rewarding – and fun – when it becomes all about people and not about their money.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! And forward this to a friend who needs more money for an important cause.