Building Allies

by Jason Dick

I find the first few months are so important at a new job. I recently read the book The First 90 Days. One of the key items that the book talks about is building allies. This is so important for us in fundraising as we often end up touching the entire organization. We call on people at every level in the organization for information, ideas, and assistance. Here are a few ideas I had, and I’d love to hear some additional ideas from you.

  • When I first started I began to try to figure out where natural ally relationships would be. Orientation is a great place to start. Everyone in this group has being new in common. As a new employee you want to find your way in the organization= you don’t know the existing attitudes (positive or negative), and have little ingrained thinking about the organization.
  • Your immediate work team is a great group in which to build relationships. They already know good people to connect with and build solid relationships.
  • Natural internal partners. Who does your team work with regularly that you might want to take a special effort to get to know?
  • The executive team. A good time to meet them is when you are new, as they want you to be excited about the organization and know you are not going to ask anything of them. (Some bosses feel pressure if their staff talk with/meet the executive team. A good practice is to ask your boss if he/she would be willing to introduce you.)

Where do you find allies? How did you build up your relationships internally and externally? Building allies is happening all the time. What are you doing to continue to develop ally relationships in your organization?

Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Get on the Phone

by Jason Dick

We live in a different world than 15 years ago. When I communicate with my friends a lot of it is done over email, twitter, and texting. I don’t pick up the phone and call my friends as much as I use to. In the development world I am constantly amazed at how much information is available over the internet. LinkedIn has been a huge resource in terms of finding some new prospects and connecting with local business people.

In spite of the power of email and LinkedIn, I have still found that prospects respond the very best to phone calls. It is too easy to ignore an email or a letter, with a phone call you can hear their voice and someone has to actually respond. Another advantage is you can deal in real time with someone’s questions, concerns, and objections. I try to respect the “no’s” and “I’m not interested” responses that I get when I talk with potential donors. But, I have often found that people want another touch point before they commit to a one-on-one meeting. You might catch an off-handed comment on the phone that turns into them attending an event you might have never talked with them about.

When building a new portfolio of donors getting on the phone and making a handful of calls is going to get a way better response than sending off a number of emails or letters. A strategy that includes an email or letter with a follow-up phone call can work really well. The individual has been given an opportunity to respond on their terms and they know if they do not they know you will be following up with them on the phone.

How often are you on the phone?  Thoughts and strategies?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Sometimes Donors Just Give

December 23, 2015

I have always held the belief that it is important to help a donor to understand what their gift can mean to the organization. I get excited when I have the opportunity to partner a donor with a specific need. I love being able to tell a story about the difference that their gift or […]

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Referral Asks

December 21, 2015

At every organization, there are many different kinds of relationships that community members can have with your organization. Community partners can be advocates, financial contributors, advisers, volunteers, and sometimes clients/patients. There is another role community members can fill that can be very effective. There is nothing quite as powerful as a volunteer who will introduce […]

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All About Relationships

December 16, 2015

People want different things. I am often surprised how different a conversation can be between someone I know and/or like and a stranger or someone I dislike. We all have those friends who get away with everything or those friends we will do anything for just because of who they are; development is all about […]

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Take Time to Make a Connection

December 14, 2015

I had a boss who once said that it is important to always take time to make a connection; there is a lot of truth to that. People have a strong desire to talk and building a relationship with other people. In a regular day I am surprised how many people it is possible to […]

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A List of Soft Touches

December 9, 2015

My last post featured the importance of soft touches over the course of a year in building a relationship with your donors. Here are a few examples of the kinds of touch points that you can use as a great way to build relationships. Send a card on your donor’s birthday and have everyone in […]

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Don’t Forget Your $1,000 Gifts

December 7, 2015

Every organization understands the value of their very top 20 donors. It is easy to see the importance of a $10,000 annual donor. Many organizations have a cut-off as to when the “major gift” starts; often times this is $1,000. Don’t forget the value of those donors that are right at and right before that […]

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An Ask is An Ask

December 2, 2015

You may have heard a guideline, “ask for three times what you’d like a donor to give.” This is a mantra that’s often used as a technique to get a stretch gift. That guideline is a very poor rule of thumb. A good ask is one the donor feels they could stretch to make but […]

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Making “The Ask”

November 30, 2015

I think that making “The Ask” is most people’s number one fear in fundraising. But in my experience making “The Ask” has been one of the easiest parts of fundraising. It does not have to be a scary or frustrating thing at all. Many nonprofits make the mistake of spending all their time planning “The […]

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