As the end of the fiscal year approaches, there’s always a need for some last-minute prospecting strategies to help meet your fundraising goals. Learn to identify prospects who may be willing to give and how to use RFM values to support year-end prospecting. Additionally, understand the importance of going back to deferrers and how to keep your pipeline fed to avoid arriving at the end of the fiscal year with a deficit.
Just in Time Prospecting
Keeping your pipeline fed is key to making sure that your organization does not arrive at the end of the fiscal year with a deficit. There are ways to both find prospects who are raising their hands now and to continually identify prospects when they raise their hand over the course of the year. One idea is using those marketing techniques that we think of as static values, but can be used as signals: RFM
A couple of marketers wrote a huge book on RFM, and some chapters are about using RFM values for different purchase times and customer segments.
Who would think of using RFM to segment by purchase type? We can! Let’s take a look at some ideas on using RFM in different ways to support year-end prospecting.
Going Back to Deferrers
The second concept that I would like to expand on is going back to deferrers. I once worked with an organization which went back to $1 million prospects as many as 42 times before deciding that the deferrals were really refusals, but accepted a deferral as a refusal after one more try on $100,000 donors. The hard part with wealth is that you never know who will get some suddenly. We also don’t know what our wealthy prospects are sharing with their wealthy friends on what they think of our cultivation and stewardship habits. We can’t know completely whether a prospect is just attention-seeking or seriously considering a gift without going back to ask as many times as the prospect needs us to.
Your system should have date-triggered reminders that will nudge your gift officers to re-contact deferrers. The gift officers should also load up their travel plans with visits to a large list of prospects, not just the anchor visit. So, stack their shopping cart up with deferring prospects, newly identified prospects, and notes on whether their current prospects have changed wealth indicators. If you are in management, consider using a dashboard that shows prospects in their respective stages so you can coach your team.
I have sat in many urgent meetings at the end of a given campaign cycle discussing how to raise a lot of money in a very short time. My thought was always, “You knew this moment was coming for months.” But in 2023, we may not have. Covid has thrown every economic pattern into pretzel shapes – we had news of both a recession and of lack of workers at the same time, for instance. However, you can, as either the fundraising or operations manager, keep plugging away at identifying and garnering those gifts right up until the bell rings.
Though we can not make up a year’s worth of fundraising, we can help with these resources: