by: David Gee, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions
Well, it certainly took its sweet time getting here, but summertime has finally arrived in the Chicago area. (I am assuming the same is true wherever you are reading this.) Thankfully, that means we can enjoy bike rides, art fairs, music festivals, baseball games and all of the other fantastic things that we associate with summertime weather. It’s the perfect time of year to get out of the house and make every effort to fully engage in outdoor activities.
It is also the perfect time to get out of the office and engage with the folks who fuel our mission with their passion and their financial support.
While getting out and meeting face-to-face with folks is certainly something we should all be doing during every season , let’s be honest, it is a lot more fun heading out for coffee, lunch or a long-overdue meeting under blue skies and the summer sun. And, unless you and your colleagues are extraordinarily unique in comparison to every other organization in the social impact sector, my hunch is you have a healthy list of people with whom you can and should meet. So, before the leaves start falling and the weather starts turning on us, make a commitment to do just that.
There’s no doubt you already know this is vitally important and that you likely have every good intention of making use of summer’s slower pace to engage more of the people on your respective lists. Nevertheless, I would still like to offer a few brief suggestions regarding your well-intentioned engagement plan.
Board & Committee Members:
- Who haven’t you talked with in a while?
- Who are the folks that it makes sense to run some programming or fundraising ideas past to get their insights and feedback?
- Who should you make an effort to get out and personally thank so they see that all they do is truly appreciated?*
- *See the last bullet above
- Program officers at current funders. (Go tell them what’s happening at a time when you don’t need something from them.)
- Who have you been meaning to meet with that you’ve just never gotten around to?
- Who are the newer donors that someone from the organization needs to connect with?
- Who are the people who your Board members met with at your last event?
- Who gave to the paddle raise or volunteered recently that you have never met with?
- Who are the lapsed donors or former funders that you could reconnect with?
At the end of the day, and before the end of the nice weather, these are some of the folks that it makes all the sense in the world for you to get out and connect with. At the same time, it is also imperative that you encourage (and if necessary help) other key members of your organization’s staff to set up their own face-to-face meetings. And finally, as we all know, getting on people’s calendars and actually scheduling meetings can take time and effort. Don’t let that serve as a deterrent to your plan. Block out time to make scheduling calls and block out time for the meetings themselves. Our leadership, volunteers, donors and potential new friends are way too important to the future of our mission for us do anything less. Besides, the weather’s great… so why not?
David Gee has been working as a development professional for over ten years with particular expertise in capital campaigns, major gifts and donor stewardship. David joined the HUB Philanthropic Solutions team after serving as The Chicago Bar Foundation’s Director of Development for over seven years. Prior to that, he spent 18 years working as a professional actor in Chicago. Among his volunteer activities, David currently serves on the Donors Forum’s Resource Development Committee, the Development Committee for All Chicago and on the Cara Program’s Major Gift Committee.