Fundraising can become such a mechanical process, in which we focus on rating prospects, writing proposals and scheduling logistics. This is never truer than in the midst of a capital campaign, when the pace of activity must be very high and everyone is focused on the bottom line of the campaign’s financial goal. In these instances, we can lose sight of the fact that we are meeting with real people and challenging them to think about their charitable priorities. Often, those donors take our requests very seriously and make decisions that broaden their philanthropy and demonstrate the impact of successful fundraising.
Is your organization celebrating a special anniversary in the near future? Are you considering a capital campaign? If you answered "yes" to both these questions, you have the potential to increase awareness of your organization and its mission and add or upgrade donors and gifts.
Most of us are familiar with the scenario above by which a promising donor prospect delivers a far less than expected (and respected) gift. By deferring a gift commitment under proscribed circumstances, you can often increase (even double) your prospect's level of charitable support. Asking for a major gift is only half the equation; you must be prepared to respond appropriately to close a gift at the highest possible level.
Through our work as capital campaign consultants and a fundraising consulting firm, the members of Custom Development Solutions (CDS) are, at any given time, talking with representatives of dozens of non-profit organizations across the US and Canada. Serving as the hub for that much dialogue allows us to make observations and draw conclusions about the charitable industry. Out of that analysis we provide our current and potential clients with feedback as to how they can best conduct their fundraising and capital campaign operations. That professional objectivity is a luxury for us, and a resource for the organizations with which we communicate.
My youngest daughter is a big fan of the crime scene investigation shows. She tries to solve the mystery before the solution is revealed at the end of the show. While watching television with her one night, it occurred to me that fundraising was a lot like crime scene investigation, except, of course, for the corpses lying around.