Learn to change your major gift fundraising style

publication date: Jun 8, 2011
author/source: Gina Eisler
The old-boy network was replaced long ago. Today's funders are sophisticated, savvy and highly knowledgeable about the charitable sector. Much of the CEO-to-CEO fundraising of the 90s has been replaced by employee committees, corporate social responsibility executives (with set funding guidelines) and online applications.

To stand out in such an environment, we can't just invite them to change the world. We must sell, market, convince, educate, inform and compete to be one of a handful of charities that the prospect will fund.

So, when you sit down with a list of ten prospects, each with a different passion, how do you entice them to notice your cause amongst the other 18,000 applications they received last month? 

Making a big case in a small space

That's when it's time to document your case, put on your prospect research hat and do some matchmaking.

My favourite part of major gifts is figuring out why a prospect should support a project when you aren't even on their radar screen. But, once you have made the connection and have a meeting set up, how do you take your ten-page case and shrink it to a two-page letter? How do you make every single syllable count so your prospect embraces the true value of the good work you are hoping to be able to do?

Or even more challenging, how do you complete an online application that deletes word 251? (and it was your best word!)

Learning by doing

On June 21st, join Doug Flanders, a panel of funders and me for a Hilborn Key-To-The-Sector Workshop - Funding Proposals That Work.

After hearing from our funders panel about the approaches that excite them, we will delve into how to write a case for support - from the mandatory questions that have to be answered (how much money do you need? Why is fundraising necessary? How did you determine there is a need for the medical research/playground/new library/camp for kids?) through the process you need to follow to ensure your case is stamped "approved."

Our afternoon is going to focus on taking your case for support and turning it into a five-year pledge - that is, writing a proposal. We'll cover the whole process from sifting through the research to identify the top prospects, to giving your potential donors exactly what they need to make a decision - in your favour.

Join us in downtown Toronto on June 21 from 9 am to 4 pm. The early bird price of $247 plus hst ends June 10th; $297 +HST afterwards.

Full details at http://tinyurl.com/funding-proposals-that-work, or contact Training Manager Mary Singleton, 416-267-1287 or by email.

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