Fundraising: Planning Your Approach

The basic nonprofit framework works something like this: A donor gives to the organization and the organization goes about its mission.

It works, but there might be a way to make it work better all around.

During the 2015 Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference, E. John McKee of the University of Maryland, Leslie Joyce of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Sarah Schooley of the University of Washington said that a better gift planning relationship might come from giving something to the donor.

They said that most solicitation involves the universal approach: Establish a relationship; Make connections; and, Ask for support and follow up diligently.

Instead, they suggested the planning approach, which works like this: Establishing an environment conducive to a gift discussion; Asking a lot of questions to uncover life goals, donor needs, status of planning, ownership of assets, support of other charities, etc.; Proposing a gift solution that solves multiple goals, at least one of which doesn’t benefit the organization; Setting up a long-term relationship with the donor, the family and the donor’s advisers; and, Asking the donor, “Would it beneficial to make the gift using assets other than cash?”; “Have you ever thought about charitable giving through your estate?”; “Are you open to alternative ways of giving?”