This time of year, we are eager to dust off winter’s gray to make room for the warm sunshine of spring. Turning the chapter to a new season encourages us to focus on cleaning, organizing, and polishing that which may have been overlooked during the winter months.
Our natural inclination to clean in the spring can extend to our fundraising efforts. How can you “spring clean” donors with whom connections to the institution have become stale and dusty? What can you do to give extra attention and, perhaps, re-shine or reengage donors and your academic or medical partners? You can make the most of this season—or any time—by challenging yourself to take the following actions:
Reawaken connections with a donor
Think of someone who has made a contribution in the past—maybe even the distant past—and the spaces, projects or programs made possible by that donor.
- Give the donor a call: “I walk past your memorial brick every morning, and I just wanted to say thank you for your investment in our institution.” What other ways can you meaningfully reconnect the donor to the institution?
- Arrange for the academic leader to call: “I was thinking of you today as I passed by the computer library, and I wanted to thank you for the great space our students have because of your contribution.” How else might you effectively involve an academic leader in sparking an existing connection?
- Provide an opportunity for the donor to experience the impact his or her contribution made: Invite the person to attend a class in the room he or she funded, or meet students who are benefiting from a scholarship he or she funded. What activities can you leverage in purposefully reconnecting the donor to the organization?
Simple conversations and engagement opportunities can make all the difference in reawakening that donor’s connection to the institution.
Renew your commitment with your academic or medical partners
Think of this change of season as a reminder to revitalize the relationship with your academic or medical partners.
- Take a look at your institution’s mission and your partner’s funding priorities with fresh eyes. In what ways can you help your partner strengthen his or her roles in philanthropy?
- Work together to revitalize funding priorities. What opportunities might you and your partner be missing to inspire passion for the work of the organization? In what way can you make existing opportunities even more compelling to donors? How might you spend some time during your regularly scheduled meeting time—or schedule a separate meeting—to refresh ways in which you reach out to donors and potential donors?
- Help your partner polish the philanthropic opportunities they share with donors. Is your partner able to clearly articulate his or her area’s funding priorities in a way that inspires donor support? How can you help shape those priorities into an Opportunity Story that invites the participation of donors in making an impact?
The efforts you make in revitalizing the relationship your academic or medical partners will pay dividends—not only in increased philanthropic support from donors, but also in a stronger, more positive connection they have with the development office.
Spring cleaning provides an opportunity for a fresh start. Is there a relationship that begs to be refreshed and reenergized? What specific donors or professional partners come to mind? Leverage the opportunity that the change of seasons brings—one filled with excitement, new beginnings, and rejuvenated focus.
To view tools, videos, and other resources that assist in “spring cleaning” your fundraising efforts, sign up for Advancement Resources’ virtual platform, myAR.