Donor Cultivation

One Paradigm Shift in Fundraising that Says it All

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 10 comments

One Paradigm Shift in Fundraising that Says it All

If we could change our collective thinking in just one way, we would all raise more money – and not by just a little bit. That shift in thinking goes like this:   Donors give because they want to.   It sounds simple and intuitive, but it’s not, and we tread all over this idea all the time.   Instead we make decisions based on what’s easier, or cheaper, or more efficient, or more convenient. We fail to personalize appeal letters (it’s WAY more work to match envelopes to letters) We let days or even weeks go by without sending acknowledgment letters (we batch them) We replace...

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Should We Raise the Minimum Gift for Our Top Donor Society?

Posted by on Mar 20, 2018 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Membership | 6 comments

Should We Raise the Minimum Gift for Our Top Donor Society?

Over the weekend, Julie S. posted the following question to the Land Trust Alliance Learning Center: Because our land trust and budget have grown significantly over the past ten years, we would like to raise the minimum gift for our top donor society which currently starts at $1,000. The vast majority of our top donors are stuck at this $1,000 entry level and we’ve had trouble moving them up. The one and only tangible benefit of being in this society is an invitation to our annual top donor society. We are considering raising the minimum gift to $1,500 or possibly even higher. Among...

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What is a Qualified Major Gift Prospect?

Posted by on Mar 13, 2018 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 1 comment

What is a Qualified Major Gift Prospect?

I’ve made a big deal in the past about the word “major” modifying the word “gift” and not the word “donor.” (It’s not a large donor. It’s a large gift!) And I’ve made the case that every donor is capable of making a major gift – for them. It’s not how big the gift is in absolute terms. It’s how the donor decision gets made – is this a major decision for them? As organizations, we talk about major gift donors against some arbitrary threshold – like $250 or even $1,000 – but we use it more as an internal term used to identify people for specific recognition. Even adding the word “donor,” as in...

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Reasons and Methods for Donor Screening

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | Comments Off on Reasons and Methods for Donor Screening

Reasons and Methods for Donor Screening

Well-Meaning Tom: The Screening meeting was actually kind of fun! I did what you recommended and got the Board members talking about it and then just sat back. They owned it! DA: That’s great! Screening should help you prioritize your donor stewardship. Well-Meaning Tom: Of course, our Board being our Board, they changed the whole process from what you recommended. I think the end result should be the same, but the process is changed up. DA: Uh oh. Changed up how? Well-Meaning Tom: They didn’t want everyone reviewing the 1,500 names at a Board meeting. So, now I’m supposed to email the list...

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Cultivating Top Donors

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets | 2 comments

Cultivating Top Donors

I’m working with three clients right now who are each planning for 2018 cultivation of top prospects. January is an ideal time to do this exercise. Most of these prospects (not all) will be solicited in the Fall, and right now we have 9 or 10 months in which to plan meaningful engagement that will help them say Yes! later. My top prospects include just about anyone who will be singled out for special cultivation attention. In other words, not treated simply as a group. One client is working with more than 100 such prospects. The other two are working with about 50 each. The number doesn’t...

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How will Tax Reform Affect Donor Giving in the Future?

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 3 comments

How will Tax Reform Affect Donor Giving in the Future?

First of all, I hope that your holiday celebration was warm and cheerful and surrounded by family and good food. Mine certainly was, and I am grateful. I’m getting more than a few requests for help thinking through the potential changes in the charitable giving landscape due to the tax reform package Congress passed last week. Before I attempt to do so, let me first disclaim that: I am not an attorney, and I have not actually waded through the 500-or-so-page tax document (the same could likely be said for many members of Congress). So, what follows is based on what I’ve read and applied to...

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