You know you should have touched base with that major donor between solicitations, but somehow time has slipped away and it’s time to ask her to renew her gift and you realize you haven’t done anything more than the business-as-usual newsletter and eblasts. You’re kicking yourself for not making a more personalized effort.
You’ve got some new prospects that you’ve been calling, but it’s starting to feel forced. You really need a “hook” to make your interactions easier and to engage those prospects more genuinely.
It’s understandable that fundraisers find themselves in these situations. Particularly in smaller shops where you’re juggling the annual fund, events, grant deadlines and more. It’s not like you can devote all your time to putting those personal touches into your major gifts program.
But here’s the thing. If you really want a major gifts program (and this applies to corporate major gifts, too), you have no choice but to create personalized touch points throughout the year with your top prospects and donors. Nothing will turn a donor off faster than to be treated like an ATM machine.
Touch points don’t have to be complicated. They just have to happen. Here are a few tips to make them as “turn-key” as possible:
Write “touch point” in your calendar at least every quarter. When the date rolls around you can decide what the specific tactic will be, but at least you’ve got it down in writing that you will do something.
When the time comes for a touch point, take advantage of whatever else is already happening at your organization:
You get the idea. Don’t feel you have to create content. Use the content that’s already there and just personalize it.
Consider hosting periodic gatherings or events – lectures, house parties, open houses, film screenings, whatever! Make them simple, small and fun. It’s wonderful as a fundraiser to be able to invite prospects or donors to be your guest every now and then in an environment that feels calmer and more intimate for you. And, it’s certainly less stressful than putting all your eggs in the gala basket once a year.
Of course, “turn-key” touch points don’t replace the ongoing relationship management you need to do with your top prospects. We have a great tool for keeping track of individual relationships in our Toolbox.
The benefit of “turn-key” touch points is they enable you to pull personalization as far down the pyramid as possible and stay sane!
For more on using your events for deeper donor interactions, consider coming to our workshop on Tuesday, July 9. It’s called The UnGala: A Workshop for People Who Want to Move Beyond the Traditional Chicken Dinner.