If I don’t write it down, it most likely is not going to happen. This is why I keep a notepad at my side all the time. I find that if I write down a task or an idea in my notebook, I will execute it.

This is also why we at Veritus firmly believe in creating revenue goals for every donor – revenue goals that are cash-flowed by month. And along with the goals, there’s a strategic plan written out for how to achieve those goals.

We created an excel spreadsheet called the Donor Engagement Plan (DEP) to help any frontline fundraiser with actually writing all this down. And, for those fundraisers who have a CRM system to do it, they use that to create their goals and plans.

Now, over the years, the DEP has evolved to make it easier for the front-line fundraiser to “write it all down.” But just recently, Lisa Robertson, who is our Director of Client Services and who has been working with our clients for many years, had a very simple, yet brilliant idea.

She said to me: “Look, you and Richard have been talking about how major gifts is ‘not just about the money’ since time began. You wrote a book about it. But, in our DEP, the whole focus is the revenue goal, and the plan is essentially focused on how to obtain that goal. That’s all about the money! So, why don’t we create a place in the DEP where the frontline fundraiser can talk about a goal that has nothing to do with money, but is designed to build a deeper relationship with that donor?”

Now, of course, the assumption with the DEP is that the plan you build is deepening the relationship, but we never asked the fundraiser to document what the relationship goal was.

The idea of course is to purposely write down your non-financial goals for each donor. Because if you do that… you’ll actually accomplish it. It’s the same principle as writing out a revenue goal and plan. If it’s on paper, a spreadsheet, or in a CRM system that you see every day, you’ll achieve the desired goal.

So, what would a non-financial goal be?

Maybe you have a Tier A donor where you know their passions and interests, but you have no idea why they have them. Like Richard loves to say, “What is the driver behind the passion?” Or if you don’t have any clue about the donor’s history, maybe your goal that year is to find out everything you can about your donor so that you are better able to serve them. Other non-financial goals could be to find out what your donor’s hobbies are or to ask them to be on a committee or the board this year, or it could be that your goal with a particular donor is to help them understand the role of overhead and why it’s an important part of the total cost of a program.

When you write down at least one NON-financial goal for your donor, it reinforces the fact that fundraising is about relationships. And by building those strong relationships, gaining trust, and understanding who your donor really is, you’re sure to see that revenue will be the result of all that good work.

As you look at each donor in your portfolio right now, start writing down what that non-financial goal is. Because if you write it down, you’ll accomplish it!