Seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, the donor made the gift online, and it stands to reason that he or she would be comfortable continuing to communicate screen-to-screen rather than face-to-face. Often, your online donation program generates a thank-you email the instant the payment clears, seemingly making additional need for contact obsolete.
But wait a second! Let’s consider what the goal is (or should be) with this new donor. You want to build a relationship with this person. Now that the ball’s in your court, you have an opportunity here to strengthen the tenuous initial connection with a little effort, attention, and the lick of a stamp.
When you're trying to raise money for school programs and upgrades, it's important to keep resources funneled to where they can do the most good. Consider large fundraising events like golf tournaments, live auctions, and banquets. While these events certainly can—and do!—raise a lot of money toward a school’s capital campaign or annual fund, hidden costs lurk among your guests.
Your school newsletter offers past, present, and prospective parents—all subscribers, in fact—a chance to be part of the day-to-day school life, even though they’re not in the classrooms on a daily basis. Each segment of your potential audience values your newsletter in a different way. By knowing your audience’s various interests, you can leverage your newsletter to your school’s greatest advantage.
To cultivate prospective donors, you, as the Development Director, can’t afford to work on instinct and hear-say. You need cold, hard facts, and a donor database gives you the data you need at a click of a finger (well, filter). Still, that database can quickly become outdated and useless without regular and thorough maintenance.
This month, while you tidy your office and home for spring cleaning, set aside some time to clean your donor database!
In a perfect world, every call during a phoneathon would end in a cash donation and a monthly commitment for more. But reality often gives us more awkward—or even angry!—responses when your volunteers call the development office’s list of leads. To prevent your volunteers from becoming the proverbial “deer in the headlights,” give them some direction to try to change that “No” into a “Yes,” even if it’s only a “yes” next year.
Let's say you have reason to believe a parent may have lied on an application based on something you learned "in confidence." Maybe a father neglected to mention a student's learning disability that your school isn't equipped to accommodate, and you discovered the omission after reading a former teacher's confidential reference letter. Perhaps a mother laughed off suggestions of troubles at home that have proved problematic to previous instructors.
The situation must be addressed, but carefully, considering your sources may have requested (or required!) anonymity to come forward. The ways to do so vary, depending on the personality and strengths of the admission staff involved, but we have a few pointers to get you started on the right foot.
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