This post is step three of a four-step roadmap for your capital campaign planning.
If you’re getting ready for a capital campaign, you’ll be wondering if you have the donors who can give the top gifts. You may even wake up in a cold sweat worrying about who they are and how you’ll find them.
But once you start looking for prospects for those top gifts, you’ll see that you actually have plenty of them. And they’re probably right under your nose!
Where Are All Those Top Donors?
They are hiding. Just look inside your donor files and your donor data base. Your future major donors are right there lurking, as yet unidentified.
You may not have noticed them because they’re giving smaller gifts. But wealthy, caring donors to your cause are on your list. And you don’t even know how much potential they really have.
Here’s the good news: they are already in your bandwagon. They’ve already invested in your cause. They are accessible!
Go to Your Most Likely Donors First
Whose most likely to give a large gift to your campaign? Someone who has already given!
For-profit businesses have found that it costs about 10 times more money to secure a new customer than it does to get more business from a current customer.
It’s the same for nonprofits. It probably costs you 10 times more to find and secure a brand new donor who will stick with you after their first gift than it does to build stronger relationships with the donors you already have.
So save your money. Farm where the soil is most fertile — right in your own backyard.
Rather than looking for new donors, build deeper relationships with donors who are already part of your cause.
Look for repeat, committed donors.
The true pathway to major gifts is finding committed donors who give again and again, and moving them into larger gifts.
Here are three simple ways to start down that path.
- Get to know them personally with a meeting or a coffee to find out who they are.
- Send them special communications. Try personal emails or an insider’s newsletter.
- Invite them to special events. The more personal the invitation, the better.
As you get to know them, look for indicators that they can make larger gifts.
Don’t waste your time on cold calls.
If you are looking at a fast-track way to become demoralized, then spend a couple of hours calling people you don’t know. Your chances of success stink! Yuck.
If you don’t yet know a donor, increase your chances for success by having someone open the door for your – and help you meet the prospect. That’s a much easier and more successful path than contacting them out of the blue.
Look for a Few Large Donors
Most of your money will come from 5 to 10% of your donors. That’s the way fundraising works! So narrow your focus to a few prospects — people who care about your cause who also have deep pockets.
Start with a list of 20 or 30 people. Then work hard to build real, authentic relationships with them.
Don’t spread yourself too thin by chasing every opportunity that comes along, because you can’t manage the follow-up.
And don’t forget former major donors who are not currently giving. See if you can pull them BACK into the fold. Find out why they stopped giving and see if they’d like to come back. It’s certainly worth the effort!
Ruthlessly set priorities.
Your time is finite! So you’ve got to make the most out of every minute you put into finding top donors.
Look at your prospective donor pool:
- Who are the people most ready to say yes to a gift?
- Which of your donors have the most capability to give?
Identify the critical few — those who are already committed with the greatest capacity to give. Then laser-focus on them.
You MUST narrow your focus so you spend your time where it’s most likely to pay off.
Set a goal to go see them and don’t let anything or anyone stop you!
Don’t forget the ladies.
Studies show that women are more charitable than men. (Chronicle of Philanthropy article by Holly Hall)
- In every income category except one (the lowest income), women gave almost twice as much as men.
- Women hold sixty-three percent of our nation’s capital.
And even when men hold the money, women often drive the gifts. Be sure to include women in your prospect searches!
Find Your Prince: Kiss a Lot of Frogs
It takes lots of work, time and energy to get to know your donors well enough to find the princes in the crowd.
But it’s interesting work.
It can be fun.
And it can be frustrating too.
But remember what’s at stake. Those frog princes and princesses are just sitting there in the pond waiting to be identified.
And lord knows, your organization’s work needs the support, and most frogs would like nothing better than to become princes.
So what are you waiting for? Jump in the pond and start kissing those frogs! : )
Of course, there’s much more to know about where to look for top donors. So don’t stop here.
For more information about how to identify your top donors, take a look at these two posts:
- 4 Guaranteed Strategies to Find Out More About Your Donors
- Find Major Donors for Your Campaign with Donor Screening Sessions
If you are in the early planning stages of your capital campaign and need some help, apply for a free strategy session with Gail or Andrea. Application deadline for this series of strategy sessions is August 21, 2015.