Make new friends, and grow the old... The case for continually looking for new opportunities.
Updated: Oct 6
Yes, I was a Girl Scout. I wore a green uniform and sold cookies. Hmmm, was that the start of my sales career?
We would sing a song that has stuck in my head for all these years. Make new friends, but keep the old…some are silver, and the others are gold. I have found this true in all forms of sales and fundraising, and some might even say this has become my theme song.
Keep old friends…This refers to your long-standing donors, partners, and supporters. They believe in what you are doing and, if handled correctly, will be ambassadors for your mission and you personally. Call them often with pertinent information, send them emails about the information of interest to them personally, remember their birthdays and kids' names. Yes, you can write them down. Most importantly, make them feel like family. Give them new opportunities to grow their commitment, like volunteering, sponsoring, capital donations, and planned giving.
It is an old sales saying…80% of your business is from 20% of your customers and half of them leave each year. In the case of donors, this also happens. Your old friends might relocate and want to support charities in their new community. They may discover other priorities, like health or new grandchildren to take up their time and financial resources, and yes, maybe they will pass away.
No organization has the option to avoid going after new opportunities. But somehow, many of them do seem to avoid it till there is a crisis. Managers are so busy with what is on their plate that they teach the skills or don’t know how to transfer their knowledge onto their staff. Fundraisers do not know how to develop relationships into meaningful partnerships devoted to funding their mission. Sometimes, they confuse a pleasant coffee meeting with building a real and lasting relationship.
Does your staff know how to prospect? Do they know the questions to ask? Do they know how to move individuals from suspect to prospect? Do they understand the art and science of creating new meaningful relationships?
This is easier than it sounds, and the solutions are based on sound sales techniques…learn them, teach them, embrace them, and grown your funding.