Getting Your House in Order


With April’s arrival, our thoughts turn to spring cleaninganddecluttering our home after a long winter. Perhaps you should consider doing the same thing with your development house. Are you cooped up in your office? Bogged down by deadlines? Do you forget what it is like to get out of the office? If you answered yes to any of these questions, now is a good time to take a closer look at how you are spending your time and energy. And perhaps it is a good time to consider launching a major gift initiative.As every development officer knows, major gifts are the cornerstone of your development plan. Often times, however, there is no clear plan in place to cultivate and care for major gift donors and prospects.Following is a six-step process you may want to consider:

1) Identify and communicate a few key project priorities and financial goals
a. Projects funded should be high priority and time-sensitive
b. Financial goals should include individuals, foundations and corporations
c. Projects and goals should be shared with leadership to gain their buy-in

2) Establish a timeline for the year, develop messaging and consider creating a simple, inexpensive marketing piece to support your priorities for the year

3) Conduct prospecting to identify, segment and organize your major gift prospects

4) Further engage leadership by developing a Major Gift committee – or utilize your Development committee

5) Execute the cultivation and solicitation process
a. Consider each donor’s individual interest and entry point with the organization as you prepare your approach
b. Plan a variety of ways to connect with donors on individually or in a small group gathering

6) Provide closure and on-going stewardship of all gifts

Now is the time to get out of the house and spend time doing what is really important – meeting with your donors and prospects. Happy Spring.

This column was created  by:
Susan Bottum, Principal
Susan runs the Non Profit and Public Affairs Consulting Division and leads the Change Management Practice at Laurus Strategies. Susan brings broad consulting experience as well as expertise in strategy development, fundraising, board development, executive search and executive coaching.
Headquartered in Chicago, Laurus Strategies has a passion for helping nonprofits advance their mission. Laurus Strategies’ Non Profit and Public Affairs Consulting Group provides a wide range of fundraising, strategic planning, training and leadership services with a proven track record of success. Together, the team has over 80 years of experience and has helped clients raise over $650,000,000.

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