“Richard and Jeff, Richard and Jeff!” she kept repeating as she caught up to us, walking down the hallway at a recent conference. “I have to tell you two something. The ‘Veritus Way’ works! It really works. I just had to talk to you two and tell you in person. I can’t thank you enough.”
Of course, we were curious about her story. So we asked her to tell us what she was doing with her donors. She went on to describe how last year she decided, after reading our materials and taking our MGA course for major gift officers, that she was going to create her first strategic plan for every one of the major donors on her portfolio.
“Here’s what I did,” she said. “I have at least one touchpoint for every month for every donor. Then, along with those touchpoints I have action items that I’ve put into my database for every donor. I think I have over 1,000 actions entered into the database. Then, I did this for my CEO and Development Director too.”
She said that since it was her first year of doing this, it took about a week or so to get all these actions completely in the database, but then she said this: “Richard and Jeff, every day when I get into the office I know exactly what I’m going to do. It’s unbelievable. Sometimes I start to wonder if I haven’t reached out to a certain donor in a while, if I missed something, and sure enough either that day or the next, a reminder pops up to take an action with that donor.”
“I’ve learned a lot this year, but the greatest thing is that creating a strategic plan for every donor and having revenue goals attached to them is actually quite liberating… it’s freedom! It’s great to know what I’m supposed to do with these donors every day, yet I can be creative and change plans if I need to. My CEO and DoD absolutely love it!
“The best thing about having a goal and plan is that I’m going to make my revenue goals this year! I’m not sure I’ve ever done that. Now next year is going to be so much easier because I’ve gone through this process once already.”
Of course, Richard and I know that the Veritus Way works. We’ve worked with hundreds of major gift officers over the years, and we’ve seen firsthand the power of structure, accountability and focus on a major gift program. But having a major gift fundraiser tell us that as she is running down the hall absolutely thrilled us.
You too can experience this kind of freedom. While it takes some upfront work, creating revenue goals and a strategic plan for all of your major donors, then tiering them, will give you the structure you need to focus on building relationships with your donors.
But here’s the thing. The key to making a strategic plan work is actually executing it. You can have all the best creative ideas and plans, but if you don’t actually do them, it’s nothing. Structure + Strategy + Execution equals success. This is the Veritus Way. This is the way that leads to major gift success.
Don’t let the upfront work of creating strategic plans deter you from doing it. Yes, it does take some work. But the hard work up front pays huge dividends later. Trust us. It works. Cultivating and stewarding your donors will be much more executable if you create that plan.
Then, one day when we see you at a conference, you can tell us your great story.