"If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that." - Shylock, The Merchant of Venice
I'm going to let you into a fact not many people know.
Major donors are humans too. Moreover, chances are they are alumni at a university for which you are fundraising, chances are they had a similar experience of university to other alumni in their year. Chances are, therefore, they might enjoy reminiscing about those experiences. Talking to students. Wandering around their old haunts.
Sometimes, we're at risk of forgetting that. In our rush to make our approaches bespoke and exclusive we discriminate against the very people with whom we want to build relationships.
God forbid that a major donor prospect should receive a cash appeal. God forbid that a major donor prospect should be included in the telethon.
I'd like to challenge that.
Telethons and cash appeals can be used as major donor cultivation tools too. Really, they can. And so can telethons. We spend a lot of time crafting direct marketing appeals. We work with agencies on coming up with the most appealing and emotive way to convey our cause. We think hard about how to communicate those messages.
And then we don't share them with the people who are our closest friends.
|Shylock agrees with me - do you?|
Why not send your latest DM piece to your major donor prospect with a personal note saying you're really proud of the piece and would love to know what they think about it?
Why not drop a line to your major donor prospect to let them know that the telethon is taking place and you've arranged for them to be called by a student? Why not let them know you would love them to take the opportunity to talk to the student? And ask them to let you know what their experience was like?
If you are setting up an experience for your other supporters which is designed to be enjoyable and to engage them with the life of your organisation, don't deny that to your major donor prospects. Include them in it and let it help it to deepen your relationship.
It's an annual appeal, or a telethon.
But it's bespoke.
It's major donor cultivation.