Recently, an elderly gentleman came on the radar as a donor to one of my Christian school clients. Unsolicited, the man expressed an interest in supporting the school and wanted to learn more. With a little research we learned that the prospective donor was in his eighties, widowed, and appeared to have capacity for a major capital campaign gift.
The client and I discussed how to approach this individual and determined that we would take a slow, deliberate approach to the cultivation process. We hope to develop a relationship with this donor who has the potential to give a 5-figure gift, or even better, a planned gift for even more.
Original Donor Gifts from Students
As we discussed the approach, my client shared something simple but strategic. She had an inventory of original student work ready to provide to donors when appropriate. This treasure box included artwork, craft projects, bookmarks, creative stories, persuasive essays, science reports, and more.
“Donor’s love them,” she told me, “and it gives them a personal connection to the school, especially for those who don’t have kids there.” Her foresight to have such a collection was especially timely for this gentleman because he has never had kids at this school. Moreover, with it being summer, school was out and such treasures were not as available as they are during the school year.
Bring Donors Closer to Exceedingly Generous Gifts
There are many ways to run with this idea. If you work with the Salvation Army, you can find kids at the Kroc Center, shelter, or Boys and Girls Club and invite them to create masterpieces for donors. At a Rescue Mission or a Teen Challenge, you could ask your guests in recovery to share their artwork, drawings, poems, or notes of appreciation. For an international ministry, you could collect many of the same items and have them sent stateside for distribution. Regardless of ministry or items, having a collection of original creations can be a valuable fundraising and stewardship asset.
This idea is not new. However, what I like about my client’s approach was that she collected a wide variety of items so she could match the right item with the right donor. So, if the donor liked little kids, he got a colored picture. If the donor liked science, he got a science essay or a lab report. I can just imagine this gentleman receiving a thank you note in response to a cultivation visit, discovering a treasure with joy in the envelope, and putting it up on his refrigerator. That simple, thoughtful act will not only remind him of the ministry but may also bring him a step closer to being exceedingly generous with my client’s school.
Sometimes the simplest detail can make the biggest difference for a major or capital campaign donor. At Dickerson, Bakker, we help clients implement both high level fundraising strategies and ground level tactics to propel their fundraising impact. Let’s talk more about how to bring donors closer to being exceedingly generous. Contact us today >>