Summertime brings a period of more relaxed schedules and an opportunity to take a breath in our hectic fundraising worlds right? Thank goodness!
For many of us, tight deadlines are finally loosened like neckties and “to do” lists become more manageable.
So how are you spending your summer?
I spent time with a few key donors this month since their schedules are also more relaxed now. I want to share what I learned.
1) First, I met with a Board member whose son receives services from the nonprofit I represent. We had a great, fun visit. We discovered we both enjoy iced coffee. Yum! I thanked him for his past giving while providing him a personal update on the organization. What I found out: He had an important question about services for his son and hadn’t asked until now. He also admitted he didn’t understand many of the acronyms that staff often reference in Board meetings. He and his wife are excited about closing on a beautiful summer home property in early Fall. How I followed up: I connected him with the right person to answer the question about additional services for his son. Then created a cheat sheet of those acronyms he mentioned. I gave him a copy and will including it in future on-boarding materials for Board members. I also will follow up on that beautiful summer home, when the time is right. I will encourage him to donate it as a future auction item. It could easily garner $5,000 which will help provide services for more deserving individuals like his son.
2) Next, I met with a past Board member and enjoyed salads overlooking the Chicago River. Ahhhhh. Yes, there is nothing like Chicago in the summertime! I thanked her for her past giving, provided an update on our services. Then asked for another gift for a specific project we are working on. What I found out: She has a beautiful condo overlooking Millennium Park, and works from home. But she finds that it can be isolating. She is looking for ways to connect with others. She enjoyed her time on our Board and is still willing to help. She offered to host events at her home or at her club in the city. How I will follow up: Well, she made the gift I asked online. So of course I called to thank her. Yeah!! I also am brainstorming with other staff about how to leverage her offer to host a gathering. Maybe we will plan a small fundraiser this Fall for a select group of donors.
So, make a call, go have lunch or iced coffee with some of your favorite donors! They will likely take the time to meet with you — and it will create a deeper connection to your organization, and likely spark new ideas too.
by: Michelle Jimenez, Senior Consultant HUB Philanthropic Solutions