I have some great practical advice for you.
We do a ton of planning at Veritus Group. Right now, we’re working with over 150 major gift officers, so all of them are in some stage of developing their strategic plans.
One area where we find that many major gift fundraisers struggle is coming up with “touch points” to cultivate and steward their donors.
At Veritus we recommend at the very LEAST that everyone on your qualified caseload gets one touch point per month. Sometimes more, depending on when you plan to solicit that donor for a gift.
That is a lot of touches to plan for. Now, you could get overwhelmed by the idea, or you can plan ahead, create a process for it and come up with a full year’s worth of touch points in one meeting.
How do you do it? Our client, Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Rochester, New York has designed a great planning system so that, when it’s time for the major gift fundraiser to create his strategic plan for every one of his caseload donors, he can “pick” from an abundance of possible touch points.
This makes planning go so much easier!
Before I talk about their excellent system, I just want to remind you how touch points should be designed in the first place:
- They should be aligned to the donor’s interests and passions. Not your organization’s.
- Touch points need to be personalized to individual donors so that you’re not treating your caseload donors all the same. (Tweet it!) This is a big deal because your tendency (and mine too) would be to save time by NOT personalizing them – because it’s more convenient to you. But personalizing these touch points is what sets you apart from everyone else talking in your donor’s ear.
Now, here is the system that Lollypop Farm has come up with. They plan for this several months prior to each new fiscal year:
- Sit down with program, communications and marketing, and review the upcoming year.
- Review all events, National Days of Recognition, invites, etc.
- MGOs relay to team what personal pieces they need for their donors – i.e. tax letters, thank you notes, Thanksgiving notecards, etc. Marketing and communications create their own timelines to get this done.
- The team creates a “Touch Point Idea Calendar” that the major gift fundraisers can use to populate their strategic plan.
Here is a snapshot of what this looks like:
This is just a snapshot, but in total, they have come up with 120 different touch points. You can see that they color-code them: Cultivation/Stewardship and Events, YMAD (You Made a Difference) Touch Points and Personal Touch Points.
Can you see how amazing it is for their major gift fundraisers to use in their planning? Here is the other bonus about this process: it essentially brings everyone together at the Society to work together on creating great impressions for donors.
That is huge!
So don’t wait until the last minute, then bang your head against the wall to come up with some kind of touch for your donors – instead, get your team together, set aside time to plan ahead, and have everyone working for your major donors to come up with some incredible touch points that will create desire to engage in your mission.
PS – If you want to learn more about the power of Touch Points, sign up for our Touch Points Course through our Major Gift Academy. Learn about it here!