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Where do BIG donors come from?

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This might surprise you: Your next generation of mega-donors are not hiding out at the country club or in CEO suites at the tops of the tallest buildings in town.

They may or may not be at those places. But nearly all of those who will eventually be your top donors are already on your mailing list. They’re donating to your direct mail. They’re giving above-average amounts, but not so high that you’ve noticed them yet.

Here in Australia as well as in the USA (and pretty much the rest of the world), the percentage of major donors who started their relationship as regular direct mail donors ranges between 85% and 95%!

How do you find these hidden-treasure people?

The first step is wealth screening — where a company compares your donor list with wealthy people or known large givers.

Next step: Meet these potential large donors!

And it usually starts with a phone call. These are not sales pitch calls. They are question sessions: the goal is to get a meeting with the donor — but only if it is worthwhile. A visit is not worthwhile if you determine that the prospect is not a major gift prospect (maybe they tell you they are broke, just lost their house, gone bankrupt etc.).

Here’s how to start: Introduce yourself, thank for previous gifts and ask something like “I understand that you were recently at my hospital and I would be interested to hear about your experience there”.

Examples of questions assessing interest:

  • Tell me about your personal experience
  • How do you see your involvement
  • Would you be interested in learning more about our work?
  • What areas interest you most in our work?

Basically, ask why they believe in your cause.

Examples of questions to determine the next steps

  • I’m planning a trip to (your town) next week, would it be convenient to meet in person?
  • I would like to invite you to a unique tour of our facility
  • Would you like a tour of something else?

That should help you get appointments.  But remember: you won’t get through to everyone you want to. It’s a numbers game, and it takes methodical patience. But the payoff will be HUGE.

Want to know more about Mid-Value Donors? Sean covers this important topic in the Mid-Value Donor Super Course which is available for all members of The Fundraisingology Lab.

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