Today we’re talking in more depth about how to identify those people and groups likely to make a large gift.

In case you’re like me and prefer to read something instead, here’s the transcript:

Hello – this is Kirsten Bullock again of The Nonprofit Academy.

Who should we be talking to? This is a very common question we hear related to fundraising. Awareness is all well and good and connecting with people is fine, but how do we identify the right people, groups and churches to speak to as it relates to large cash donations?

Outside of arts groups, churches, universities and to some extent hospitals, donations tend to come from outside the community being served. This can create a tension between wanting to make sure that potential donors see a real need and not portraying the community being served as incapable of helping themselves. It is important to recognize though that donors will not give if they don’t see a need. Therefore if we are unable – or unwilling – to portray a need we will make our job nearly impossible.

But on to today’s primary topic: who should you be talking to?

If you have a fundraising background, you are probably familiar with the terms Linkage, Ability and Interest. Just in case these terms are new to you, here's a brief introduction to them:
Linkage: Is the person fairly closely linked to your organization already? This could be through a person or through their relationship with the organization. And by the way, even if there is no existing relationship, there's no reason why you can't reach out and start developing one.

Ability: Does the person have the capacity to give a gift in an amount you are seeking, and
Interest: Is this person interested in your cause. If their passion is for helping people overcome homelessness, then an arts group might not be the best fit.

It’s best if they have all three, but if you have time and resources to commit to building a relationship, you can at times start moving forward with just two of the three.
Another question to consider: Is this person connected with others who might be able to give large gifts. If so, you may still be asking for a financial gift at some point. But in addition you will also be asking for introductions.

That’s it for today. Spend some time this week jotting down names of people, groups, and churches that come to mind when you think of linkage, ability and interest.

Stay tuned for more!