1. Identify – Who of your individual donors have been giving regularly. To be defined as: more than once a year, monthly donors, individual or total annual gifts over $X. Where X = a minimum contribution you set just below a major gift. Do event or auction “gifts” count? In this case yes because they show annual capacity. Major gifts can be $100-$100,000. Depends on the organization. But you need to start somewhere.
2. Cultivate – Set up a one on one to meet with the donor (and partner). Find out more about them. Their interest in your organization. Ask them for advice on something. In addition, host an event for these donors. Site visit, organization update, private viewing of something or launch of a new program. Something to engage and make them feel welcome and special. The event brings many to you and allows them to network with others who support your group. Creating a buzz and critical mass is a good thing. This is not to say a little prospect research couldn’t help. But don’t underestimate your own intuition and research skills. Meeting a donor can tell you 80% of what you would like to know.
3. Solicit – Now this may not/should not happen the first time you meet with them. But a good fundraiser after the right cultivation knows when to ask and who should make the ask. Who does the donor(s) relate to? Another donor, CEO, program director, Board member? How much will you ask for? Again good cultivation and research will let you know capacity – you have already identified interest and propensity. Right donor, right time, right ask.
Go forth and prosper. Build the middle of your fundraising pyramid. You and your organization will be the better for it.