Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of creating a 12-month plan with touch points for each of your caseload donors? I have some great practical advice for you.

We do a ton of planning at Veritus Group. We’re working with over 150 major gift officers at a given time, and all of them are in various stages of developing their strategic plans.

One area where we find that many major gift fundraisers struggle is coming up with effective touch points to cultivate and steward their donors.

At Veritus, we recommend at the very LEAST that you send a monthly touch point to everyone on your qualified caseload. Sometimes more, depending on when you plan to solicit that donor for a gift.

That is a lot of communication to plan for. Now, it’s easy to feel so overwhelmed that you never start.

But if you plan ahead and create a process for it, you’ll see it’s actually possible to 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 their major gift fundraiser to create his strategic plan for each 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 want to remind you of the following as you design your donor touch points:

  1. They should be aligned to the donor’s interests and passions. Not your organization’s.
  2. Touch points need to be personalized to individual donors so that you’re not treating your caseload donors all the same. 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 to review the upcoming year.
  • Review all events, National Days of Recognition, invites, etc.
  • MGOs relay to the team what personal pieces they need for their donors – i.e. tax letters, thank you notes, Thanksgiving greeting cards, etc. Marketing and communications create their own timelines to get this done.
  • The team creates a “Touch Point Idea Calendar” that major gift fundraisers can use to populate their strategic plan.

Here is a snapshot of what this looks like:

Touch points chart.
This is just a snapshot, but in total, they have come up with 120 different touch points. They also color-code them based on categories like Cultivation/Stewardship, Events, YMAD (You Made a Difference) Touch Points, and Personal Touch Points.

Can you see how amazing this is for major gift fundraisers to use this in their planning?

Here’s 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 to come up with touch points for your donors. Instead, set aside time to plan ahead and get your team together. With everyone in the same room, you’ll quickly have more than enough ideas. And MGOs will have some incredible touch points that will inspire donors to engage with your mission.


PS – If you want to discover more creative ways to connect with your donors, check out our free White Paper, “Digital Touch Points.” You can also learn about creating touch points and much more in our Certification Course for Major Gift Fundraisers.

This post originally appeared on the Passionate Giving Blog on June 15, 2018.