Five Tips for Building Your List of Prospective Donors

By Jamie Sellers, Associate Consultant

One of my favorite tips about fishing is, “Go fishing where the fish are!” This seems so simple but you would be surprised how often the angler thinks about the lure, bait, and pole but does not stop to think about where the fish may actually be. The experts say that 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water. So, knowing the location is crucial!

There are correlations between fishing and fundraising. 90% of your best donors will be in 10% of the crowd. God is drawing people to fund your mission and the trick is to find them. Many people approach fundraising from an event or crowdfunding perspective. At The FOCUS Group, we encourage our clients to focus on relationships. As we drill down on relationships, we recommend that you narrow your list with an eye on several basic qualities.

If you’ve never raised money before and don’t know where to start, here is a practical way to skin this catfish.

  1. Stop making decisions for people: Make a list of 100 people you know and do not filter them out with your imagination.
  2. Use these 5 categories as you make the list, assigning a point for each
    1. Who loves you?
    2. Who loves your organization?
    3. Who loves the people being served by your organization?
    4. Who has a giving spirit?
    5. Who has financial capacity?
  3. For the people who have 4 or 5 points – Meet with them face to face. Tell them all about it.
  4. For the 3’s – Send them a letter and then follow up with a call and tell them your story.
  5. For the 1’s or 2’s – Cultivate a relationship and you may find that they have more points than you originally thought.

To improve your fishing, go often. There is no teacher quite like experience. While fundraising is not exactly like fishing, there are some similarities. You have to get out and talk to people, and choosing the right people is the key.

If you would like to learn more about building your list of donors, click the link below to listen to our podcast!

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