On their regular Passionate Giving Blog, Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the donor relations consulting firm Veritus Group recently reposted a blog that discussed where major gift officers should seek major donors.
In the article, “Stop Prospecting!” Perry lists some common and, in his opinion, misguided directives often given to major gift officers in search of new prospective donors.
- “I was just at (insert any meeting) and I met this really great woman who is very connected here in the community. And she is very wealthy. She expressed a lot of interest in what we are doing. I want you to get in touch with her and …”
- “I’ve been thinking about (insert the name of any business association) here and I think there are a number of very wealthy people who are in that group who would be interested in our work. I would like you to see how you can network yourself in and find those good donors.”
- “I have a friend who knows a lot of the wealthy people here, and I was telling him about our difficulty in finding donors to support our organization. He says he knows a lot of people and would be glad to help. Please contact him and get that going.”
- “Our advisory board has a lot of very influential people on it who know a lot of good prospects for our major donor program. I would like you to meet with each of them to make a list of folks they know, then contact those folks and ask them to support us.”
Maintaining that he could continue with “at least a dozen other scenarios,” Perry concludes: “… all of it, including the board idea, is a massive waste of time — a colossal waste of time — a certain path to failure.”
He says the place to find major donors (“Scores of them. Maybe hundreds.”) is in your existing donor file. That’s where you can find “good people who have already said ‘yes’ to your request for help … That is where you will find your major donors. Nowhere else.”
You can understand his point, but what if you could turn your website into an extension of your donor file? What if your website became a source of passionate, high-capacity alumni who are engaged and interested in your institution right now?
For a Capture Higher Ed partner, its university website recently became just that.
Using marketing automation specifically created for higher education, the college identified more than 500 alumni and friends visiting its website; more than a third of them were previously unassigned to gift officers and fell into leadership or major giving segments.
Perry opened his blog about the futility of prospecting by recounting a conversation with a major gift officer who said, “I am really frustrated that there’s no training on where to get major donors. I was at a conference on fundraising and asked several speakers this same question, and they didn’t have an answer. How do I find them?”
At Capture, we recommend finding them on your website. And we’ve got the tools to help you do that.
By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed