Introductions and Connections: Major Donors May Be Closer than You Think

The odds of uncovering a donor, let alone a major donor, from a purchased list are pretty slim. Even with a staggering amount of work, crafting your message, coordinating multimedia vehicle to deliver your message, personalization, and dogged determination month in and month out – it could all be for naught.

Contrast that effort with the magic of the right introduction. There is someone who, at least on paper, would be perfect to add to your list of donors and worth your effort to cultivate as repeat or major donor. You discover that you know someone who knows them very well. They are neighbors. Or perhaps their children go to the same school. Maybe they’ve work together. A simple introduction can put you and your mission on the radar of your prospective donor. There is a connection and through that connection you’re able to jump start awareness of your organization.

FundraisingHave you ever searched on someone’s name in LinkedIn? It will bring up their profile, but if you look to the right sidebar, it will also show if you have a connection. One of your existing connections, Robert White, is connected with Leslie Smith. Robert Smith may be willing to introduce you to Leslie Smith.

Connections are crucial. It’s what made the adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” a truism.

The question is: Are you optimally leveraging the connections that already exist within your organization? The answer is probably not.

It may be time to take a strategic look at the universe of connectedness that you have through the network of individuals devoted to your mission – staff, volunteers, board members, and donors.

If you can identify the universe, you can begin to zero in on those most likely to support your organization. This requires strategy and a systematic approach. But it’s not as difficult as it might seem at first blush.

There is a White Paper that can help you put together your strategy ‘Six Degrees of Major Gift Fundraising’ available from AccuFund.

As the guide notes, “It takes some work, but it is relatively easy to identify the individuals that would be likely donors. What’s not so easy, in many cases, and far more complicated is making your internal advocates comfortable in making the initial introduction and inviting participation in the form of a donation.”

The good news is that they share three keys to success in making internal advocates comfortable and developing a culture of philanthropy.

Six Degrees of Major Gift Fundraising’ should be on every Executive Director’s summer reading list.