The Mind-shift needed for Major Donor Fundraisers to raise Sponsorship Dollars

Are you a Major Donor Fundraiser doing corporate fundraising? This is for you.
Recently I had several conversations with some seriously kick-ass major gift fundraisers. These women are exceptional at bringing in large gifts for great organizations, all of which are doing impressive work.

Following our chats, they asked me to come in and talk about their organization’s corporate fundraising strategy and revenue. Through these conversations, some clear trends emerged:

We like to talk. Whether it was in the emails or phone scripts they shared, all of these major donor fundraisers led with multiple paragraphs or several minute-long explanations of their charity. Sometimes connecting it to the bigger cause, but more often than not, drilling down to specific projects and programs.

Sponsorship Mind-shift: All charities do good work. Some causes are more on trend than others. Be able to distill your charity and the cause it supports down to 1 sentence in writing or 15 seconds over the phone. Practice, practice, practice.

We are all tempted to take the easy way out. Whether or not there was an alignment in community investment priorities, if reaching a corporate rep proved difficult the first time around, many of the fundraisers I spoke with made the decision to fill out the online application, more often than not with a plan to follow up.

Sponsorship Mind-shift: I have written on this before and I will say it again: spend your time finding a way to speak to someone, and if you don’t reach anyone, consider it a closed account until you do. Do not waste your precious time filling out a form.

We’re still stuck inside the box: Many of the fundraisers I spoke with would hesitate to approach a company because community investment priorities didn’t perfectly align.

Sponsorship Mind-shift: Stop focusing on how your interests don’t align – and start focusing on ways they could. Despite a lack of alignment on community investment priorities, you might find overlap in terms of audience, employee engagement or introduction of a brand attribute that your partnership could help develop. Quit thinking inside the box and get creative in your pitch.

We’re having the wrong conversation: The person I am talking to is a person too, so I am just going to treat them as I do a major donor.

Sponsorship Mind-shift: That’s sweet – but it won’t get either of you far when it comes time to justify the use of company funds to support of your super-worthy cause. Be nice, polite, funny and appealing – but more importantly? Be prepared. Remember that the person on the other end of that phone call or email isn’t giving away their own money, they are giving away company money. That means there are firm business objectives that need to be met and measured. Let’s face it, money talks and in this case, you have less than a minute to convince them that you and your cause are worth every penny.

Are you finding this mind-shift difficult to execute? Let me know why in the comments or send me an email at [email protected] and let’s talk it through. Is this reminder just what you needed to make the shift? If so, glad I could help.

You’ve got this!