OK, well that might be a bit extreme. Chances are most of us don't know where our donors - or prospective donors are at 11:30 PM. In fact, there's a good chance they may not want us to know where they are at 11:30....or after. But it's worth knowing where you may find your strongest constituents after typical business hours.
What I'm really asking is how well do you know your donors, volunteers....and while we're at it, how about your leadership and staff? My hunch is a lot of us can fill in the top 5 or even 10 blanks created by Raisers Edge or (fill in your database system of choice). But can you go deeper? And why is it worth it? Here's a few examples:
Birthdays: Chances are you know when your donors' birthdays are - it's probably right there in one of the top fill-in slots. But do you know what their favorite gift has been? And who do they love to celebrate it with...and how do they celebrate? Will all of this get you an immediate donation? Probably not. Will it tell you things about your donors and volunteers that will help you create real and lasting relationships? Absolutely!
Work and Professional Life: You know what they do but do you know what else they want to do? You have the Chief Marketing Officer of Acme BigCo on your Board and she's been looking to hone her financial skills. How psyched is she going to be when you invite her to head up the new finance committee or be part of the budgeting process? And do you know if your donor's company offers a match? That opportunity is just a question away.
Hobbies, Interests and Downtime: Chances are you know that they do or do not play golf. But do you know if your donors run, bike and/or swim? If so, fundraising around endurance events such as marathons and triathlon is on the rise. And it's growing faster thanks to crowd funding and third party platforms. Do your volunteers love travel and if so, where do they go? You may have a great opportunity to connect them to a local affiliate at their destination. What a great way to further engage them in your mission.
As I do my proofreading, I realize I'm asking lots of questions. But that's the point. These are just three quick examples of how just going a bit deeper with learning about your donors can make big diferences. Take the time and try it. You'll be glad you did.
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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