Sunday, February 20, 2011

Building A Prospect Pool

By my count, there are 7 basic ways of building a prospect pool:

  • Deliver a high practical and emotional return to students or other key constituents and investors, including faculty and staff, engendering their gratitude and admiration, and causing them to want to remain attached to and interactive with the institution as a primary objective in their lives;
  • Deliver measurable value to, and create strategic alliances with private and public sector entities;
  • Recruit and re-engage alumni (or other key constituents) by aligning their personal or professional interests with existing programs or by creating new ones;
  • Attract those with no current or previous connections through a set of inspiring actions, initiatives or decisions, or by living out great values;
  • Align with causes and movements that have well-developed philanthropic communities associated with them;
  • Stage compelling events that draw people in and, by virtue of the impression made, induce them to want to support the institution; and/or
  • Deploy development officers to seek them out and cultivate them one at a time as donors.

In my experience, most institutions rely far more on the last two more than the first five, and, by paying too little attention to the first five, have rendered the last two less effective. Forgive me for making the point again but I am on a mission: volunteers give ten times more money than non-volunteer donors over time. It is in the enlightened self-interest of any philanthropy-seeking organization, therefore, to create a broad, rich, layered set of volunteer engagement opportunities. Those who engaged in this task with the most administrative openness, strategic foresight, and creativity will realize remarkable philanthropic gains over time.

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