How do you attract the best donors to your nonprofit organization? The right donor can help an organization change the world. The wrong donor can cost you valuable time, resources, and reputation. Here’s why I’m qualified to share a key donor development system. I’ve spent the last 25 years working with senior leaders and entrepreneurs around the globe. I’ve interviewed over 16,000 leaders of businesses and nonprofits over this time. Of this number, over 8,000 are millionaires and at least 50 have a net worth in excess of $100,000,000. Several appear on the Forbes 400 list on a regular basis. I’d like to share my system in hopes of helping you find your next big donor.
I will share system that helps you successfully recruit the right donors to your organization. I have seen this system help turn organizations around and provide significant value to the development process.
The first step is to do your research. I’m always amazed at how little time is invested in better understanding the people my nonprofits are approaching. I might spend several hours researching a potential donor before I approach them. I don’t do this for every donor but on any gift request over $25,000 I do, and so should you. The more you do this the better you get at it. Today, my research tool of choice is Google. I tend to Google almost everyone I meet. It’s fascinating what you can learn from a simple Google search. I look at the first several entries but I then go several pages deep to uncover more about the leaders. I find several interesting facts on the later listings that might reveal more about who they are than their resumes or corporate bios. The later entries also provide me with more facts about who they know and what their hobbies and interests might be. I also try to uncover potential connections we share that might be able to warm up my call.
The second step is to learn more about how the person has acquired their current position. I look for clues to the person’s drives and ambition. I review their educational background or the lack of said background. I look to uncover articles the person may have written. I try to understand how they see the world. How much of their success comes from hard work and competitiveness? How is their industry set up and how long have they been in the field. During this phase I look to better understand the organizations they work for. I have discovered most leading organizations have a corporate culture and by unlocking this key I’m able to understand how this person works with others. If the person founded the business they work for it will provide me a significant understanding of what this person values and how they see the world. There are many great resources to help you build a better understanding of the people we are going to talk with. Few people have the ability to truly understand someone without spending time on researching who that person is and what they’ve accomplished.
Come back on Thursday to learn the last step in the process, approaching the potential big donor.
Tripp Braden is a Funding Strategist, working with nonprofits to increase their funding options and optimize their revenues by building on their strengths. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.