There are several stages to prospecting for a major gift and its giver. They are:
- Identification-to whom do we appeal?
- Investigation-what can we learn about them and their interests?
- Cultivation-what can we do to draw them nearer to us?
- Solicitation-when should we ask them, using what medium and for what amount of money?
- Appreciation-it is vital to show genuine and immediate gratitude in several ways.
- Orientation-spend time teaching them how they can help meet agency needs (introduce you to others, volunteer time and money, and offer their professional expertise).
- Re-Evaluation-assess their interests and talents in view of your needs, and begin deepening the relationship by asking them to take on leadership where applicable.
After passing through each of these stages of the prospecting cycle, these donors re-enter the cycle to be cultivated further, and to be educated more about what they can do to help, physically and financially. Great care should be taken to show deep appreciation and engagement so that they are drawn closer and closer to the organization, and shown more and more affection and appreciation from top leadership, professional staff and board members.
CDS has substantial expertise in the development of exceptional major gift giving programs. We can work with organizations who have not ever had a major gift program, or agencies where they once had a thriving major gifts operation but may be struggling today or has died of neglect.
Best practices are systematic and organic in nature-like a garden of fruits and vegetables-if neglected, it will produce weeds and thorns. If a major gifts program is treated properly, however with great care and attention, it will thrive and produce significant sums of money.
CDS can help you build a dynamic and growing development operation, which will only get better with time and proper care.