publication date: May 18, 2011
Every organization has a prospect pipeline. At worst, it's
an unintentional, intermittent pathway that's full of holes. At its best, it
transports the liquid gold of prospects and donors, moving irresistibly forward
towards deeper engagement and higher giving.
"Simply put," says KCI
CEO Marnie Spears
, "the prospect
pipeline places cohorts of prospects at different stages of the development
cycle (identification, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship) and then
measures their progress as they move from an unqualified lead to a donor."
She considers the prospect pipeline so vital to a charity's
survival that she's devoted the entire Spring 2011 issue of the company's Philanthropic Trends Quarterly
illustrating and examining it.
In the quarterly, Spears offers seven tips to keep a
prospect in the pipeline.
Calling donors just
to say thanks
That does double duty, engaging both the donors and the
volunteers who do the calls.
opportunities for people to volunteer
An engaged volunteer becomes a
committed donor much more readily than a non-volunteer.
Events help people get to know you, your organization and your
people. Just be careful not to overwhelm your guests or your target audience
with too many. And make them different from one another to appeal to different
segments of your prospect pool.
Develop tools to
communicate regularly with prospects
Be systematic! Regular communication
is a crucial engagement tool. It can't be left to those odd moments when you're
between other projects.
supporters feel special
Gallery of Ontario
, for instance, has a Curators' Circle that includes
invitations to pre-opening viewings and receptions for exhibitions.
Ask for advice and
Asking people for advice can be a simple but very effective way to
engage people in your organization through giving them individual time with a
Ask for help
your current donors and volunteers to help you with the vital, sensitive tasks
of building new relationships on the organization's behalf. Acting as a host at
a special event can give a knowledgeable volunteer a great opportunity to
engage someone new.
Download the latest issue of Philanthropic
Trends Quarterly, from which these suggestions are taken.