At the Laurus Strategies’ Non Profit and Public Affairs Workshop last week, we discussed the Cycle of Fundraising. The Cycle refers to the process of identifying, cultivating, asking, thanking and engaging donors. This diagram does more than show a path to a donor “ask”. It really illustrates how a fundraiser’s time should be spent in securing a gift. “The Ask” takes the smallest percentage of time at about 5%. Identification of prospects takes about 20% of the time and 25% then is used to educate and cultivate leading to an ask. The question you should ask yourself is, ” If 50% of my time is spent getting to and making the ask, what do I do with the other 50% of the time?” The other 50% is at least equally as important as the first 50%. While the first 50% will result in a gift, your ability to thank and recognize, involve and engage donors will determine a donors willingness to continue to support your organization. Fundraisers often get caught up in the “short game” of the chase for gifts and neglect the stewardship necessary to show that the donor’s gift is appreciated and that it has a real impact on the organization’s mission. Without this work a donor is very likely to not repeat his philanthropy a second time. It is essential that fundraisers as well as those in leadership understand the importance of stewardship as well as cultivation. It is in that way that our organizations are not just chasing dollars, but truly building lasting relationships with donors and deep partnerships that will ensure our organizations stay strong and continue to fulfill our missions long into the future.