The seven steps of major donor solicitation continue to be a mystery to some. Will a parallel with dating help to make it clearer, or is dating just as complex?
Doing the ground work before investing in a specialist to work with you to deliver a step change in your fundraising will give you the solid foundation from which a lofty building will be able to grow. A lot of this round work is internal – making sure you’re brought the right people with you on this journey of change and that you’ve considered the implications and ramifications on budgets, time, resources.
It is less risky to ask for a gift when you know the person is likely to say yes. Learning how to read the signs of another person’s likelihood to give is sometimes tricky and sometimes really obvious. But fundamentally it is the asking that is the secret: if you don’t ask you definitely won’t get!
Even a tiny charity can build a major donor programme. Because a major donor programme can start with a single donor, it doesn’t have to start with a big database, a big spreadsheet and an investment in staff and resources that won’t pay off for two years or more.
The secret is knowing your capacity to delight and then delighting that donor or those few donors you can manage well.
A Development Board is not an undertaking for the feint-hearted, they are full-on vehicles to deliver significant investment. As we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch; this significant investment in your organisation will need a significant investment from you in time (and money).
There are three key areas to consider when reviewing a Development Board – to set one up or to continue with one: