Relationships are Fundamental to Successful Non-Profit Prospecting
Humans are empowered by their relationships – it’s as simple as that! People actively seek out relationships and will use them to shape their decisions. Utilizing humans’ natural instinct to define their choices by their relationships is a powerful prospecting tool – one that non-profits rely heavily on. When it’s time for non-profits to expand their donor pool they often:
- Ask their current donors if they know of anyone in their network who might be interested in their organization.
- Have their donors introduce them to prospects – this reinforces to the prospect that the organization is trustworthy.
Building relationships with prospects slowly and steadily increases the potential for long-term donors rather than pressuring them for a donation, which often leads to one-time giving. Having a true connection with donors rather than one based solely on money often proves to be the more fruitful approach.
Engaging Your Board Members
Non-profit Board members are often successful people who along the way have had the opportunity to build up their networks. Asking donors or Board members for advice and making them feel valued for something other than their money makes them much more willing to help non-profits when it’s time for prospecting. Peer-to-peer influence is the most effective kind of influence and often times the Board members’ peers are just as influential as they are. Successful non-profits focus their Board member engagement in the fundraising process by forming a fundraising committee. According to the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC), 63% of non-profits with fundraising committees including or led by Board members met their fundraising goals. Getting their current donors more involved through volunteering and committee engagement also increases the likelihood of them wanting to involve their friends. A non-profit’s Board members are often a much cheaper and direct way to find new prospects. Consider the extent of a candidate’s network when interviewing prospective new Board members, and be sure to ask questions to determine how actionable their relationships really are.
Qualifying Prospects – Efficiently & Systematically
When non-profits are prospecting, it is important for them to consider a potential donor’s history with non-profits. If they gave money to a charity with a related mission in the past then that means they may be more inclined to donate to a similar charity. Non-profits always keep in mind that prospects feel inclined to give when they support the particular cause and the effectiveness of the approach that the charity takes. Asking current donors and Board members to invite prospects to non-ask (“friendraising”) events, tours of their facility, or to engage in volunteer opportunities at the non-profits qualifies them as quality prospects and starts to build an interpersonal or organizational relationship with them. These events also generate more publicity for the non-profit, and create valuable content for non-profit newsletters to promote and raise awareness of the organization to prospects.
Non-profits can continue to deepen relationships with their prospects by utilizing Relationship Intelligence and Prospect Research software, like RelPro, to learn more about the prospect, and to efficiently stay in touch with them through timely and actionable alerts.