sweetsummertime 2015-Jun12
Summer is the perfect time to do things you’ve neglected to do all year. One of those things is to do more research on your donors. By now, you should have your A-level donors down, but those B and C level donors* need more attention.
Sometimes we stress those A-level donors so much I fear that we don’t spend enough time on the rest of the portfolio.
So while your colleagues are at the beach and you think you hear crickets in the office, take a full week and start researching and connecting with your B and C level donors. Here is what I suggest you look for:

  1. Giving trends — I recommend you look back at each of your donors and find out how much and for what your donors gave over the last five years. Also note what prompted the gift. For example, four years ago one of your C-level donors gave $500 as a result of a direct-mail piece specifically about a women’s shelter. Then you noticed two years ago he gave $750 to help a women and children’s feeding program. This donor seems to resonate with women and children, perhaps. Note that in your notes section of the database, and set a tickler that you want to pursue this type of offer with the donor.
  2. Capacity — You may or may not have done some wealth indicator screening on your portfolio. If you have, start reviewing each of the reports, not just the rankings. If you haven’t, this is your opportunity to do some of your own investigative work. Start looking at Google, Zillow and other sites to find out more about where your donors live, what they do, whether they are in the news, who they may have previously given to, etc. There is a tremendous amount of information out there. You just need the time to find it. Now is that time.
  3. Call on your donors — Because you are so focused on your A-level and high B-level donors, you may find that you are not meeting or even talking with the rest of your caseload. Summer is a great time to try to do that in person or on the phone. Be prepared with some good questions, and have a list of programs and projects that you could talk about if the call is going well. Remember, your work as an MGO really boils down to creating relationships with donors; this is an excellent time to do that with your lower-level caseload donors.
  4. Creating connections — One of the best things you can do for your donors is to help them create connections with other donors. In doing your research, you will undoubtedly find connections between your caseload and the other donors at your organization. These connections may have a lasting impact on your donor’s business or personal life in ways you could never have imagined. Richard and I have numerous stories how MGOs brought together donors who never knew each other, and really cool stuff happened because of it.
  5. Unbelievable customer service — This is the time of year to think about special things you can do for the often-neglected B- and C-level donors. Just start thinking, “what could I do to make this donor feel special today?” Perhaps it’s just a thank you call, a handwritten note, a little gift or a text letting the donor know you are thinking about them. I think we often forget how all of us want to connect with others. In that context, how can you connect with your donors in a special way this summer?

Reach out this summer to your B- and C-level donors. Make it a priority now, and later you will be rewarded.
Next we’ll talk about what you can do to “recharge your batteries” on a personal level.
* At Veritus, we recommend that MGOs have caseloads of no more than 150 qualified donors, and that these be segregated by current giving and capacity into levels A, B and C. You will spend more of your time (on average) with your A-level donors. For more about this subject, click here.