From Prospect to Partner

Turning prospects into donors is the end goal for any fundraising campaign. This all starts with proper solicitation of these individuals.

In his book “Tested Ways to Successful Fundraising,” George A. Brakeley, Jr. wrote that solicitation of prospects must be done in an orderly fashion with proven techniques. Your solicitation should go flawlessly, assuming the preliminary planning, scheduling, and research have been well executed well.

Brakeley, Jr. recommended these eight rules of thumb to get your efforts on the right track:

  • An institution that seeks funds from all sources — individuals, commerce and industry, foundations, and government — has the best chance of success.
  • The individuals most likely to obtain the largest possible gift from a given prospect should be assigned to solicit that prospect.
  • The solicitor’s “status” should be equal, or superior, to that of the prospect. (Consideration should be given to the use of solicitation “teams.”)
  • All prospects should be familiar with the organization’s case and needs before being asked to participate.
  • Campaign workers must know each prospect’s giving potential.
  • Most donors will give more if they know they may spread their gift over a period of years.
  • Presentations should be tailored to the prospect’s known or supposed interests.
  • Intimate, personal functions, arranged for small groups of potentially large donors, are far more effective than larger “special events.”

About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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