Major Gifts – Beyond the Solicitation Series – Part 9
Last month we focused upon how to “move” a donor from ever-increasing annual giving to become a $5,000 major donor. The process of moves management employs a series of steps (moves) for each identified prospect which “move” prospects from gaining their attention to eliciting their interest in your organization so that they develop a desire to take an action—make a major gift—and then through thoughtful, well-planned individualized steps of stewardship keep them continually moving to the next gift.
This month, we will turn to a six-step implementation process and a methodology to execute the plan with disciplined execution. To go a bit deeper on each step, the process will be split into two articles.
The first three steps help you enlist major donor prospects who will be part of your moves management community. First you identify prospects then gather information through prospect research—formal and informal—and, finally, evaluate each prospect to determine that he or she is a worth allocating the time and energy of staff and volunteer leadership. The second three steps focus on the application of your findings.
Step I: Identify Prospects
Begin by, reviewing your current database of donors. Screen for frequency of giving, recency of support, those who increase their gifts annually and possibly the “diamonds in the rough,” high net worth individuals who have demonstrated interest in the area in which your organization functions, such as at-risk youth. This would be a good time to conduct an electronic prospect screening of your identified prospects to determine, wealth as well as philanthropic and political giving patterns—sure markers of value for further consideration. Then, engage your board collectively and, better still, individually, to identify sources of information about and relationships with the prospects.
Step II: Gather partners
When you meet with a board member, share a list of suspects—people whom you believe could be major donor prospects. Ask your board member
- What is the prospect’s gift capacity rating?
- Do you have access to this prospect—will they return your call?
- Can you share information about this prospect?
Step III: Evaluate Prospects
Once you have met with your board members—and your colleagues on the staff—collate all the information that you have gathered. You are seeking to answer questions such as:
- Why is this individual a prospect?
- In what has this person expressed interest?
- For what purposes should funding be sought?
- What is the giving capacity? (See donor research)
- What is our present relationship? (Prior gifts & involvement)
- Who are partners/centers of influence?
Now, that you and your team have agreed upon the prospects with whom you wish to move forward strategically, you develop a detailed plan of background and foreground moves for each prospect. Once you have each plan, you turn to the three key steps of implementation.