Fundraising Road Show

May 6, 2010 at 9:30 am 2 comments

So have you given any thought to doing a Fundraising Road Show? You know, like joint venture firms go on the road to show their latest investment opportunity? I think we can apply the same principles to nonprofit fund development.

We know need to talk to our donors and prospects more. We need to hone the message we want to share. When you want money ask for advice. When was the last time you sat down one-on-one or in small groups with your donors or prospects? I mean outside of campaign feasibility study?

This is cultivation at its best, but we need to make it part of our routine – not just when preparing for campaign, asking for a gift or asking a donor who they know.


  • What’s been happening with your organization?
  • Successes, challenges, status quo
  • Is there a challenge you want to solve?
  • A listening tour

Who’s on the Road Show?

Whoever might be appropriate for that donor or prospect. I think this effort is led by development, but doesn’t mean the meeting is. Development can determine the who – staff, donors and volunteers, but who leads the conversation depends on the donor/prospect. I would include program staff, Executive Director, Board leadership (not at the same meeting but the appropriate combination for the donor/prospect.)

How does it work?

  • Create a buzz around your Fundraising Road Show
    • Launch the Road Show – Let everyone know you are on the road to do, to learn, to listen…..
    • Make it something people want to be a part of
    • An event they are looking forward to hearing about
    • “Are you a part of the Road Show?” should be the buzz
  • Create a list of people you want to talk to personally because their
    • Gift or potential gift
    • Knowledge and skills
    • Network
    • Interest in your organization
    • Involvement with your organization – volunteer, donors, old/new, on and off line
  • Determine who from the organization should participate in each meeting
  • Train on the message and goals for the meetings
  • Get calendars synced
    • Set a time frame – people like knowing there is a beginning, middle and end
  • Set up meetings that work for the donor/prospect
    • Your office
    • Their office
    • Over a meal
    • Before or after work
    • Small group conversations
  • Have the meetings
  • Download post-meeting
  • Follow up – Follow up – Follow up
  • Start again

Fundraising Road Show Updates

  • Share your learnings, experiences, ideas with others
    • Write or create a blog
    • Include photos
    • Write for the newsletter – electronic or otherwise
    • Share at staff and Board meetings
    • Use social media

At its core the Fundraising Road Show is cultivation. But telling your folks you are out on a Road Show (call it what you will) will engage them. Sharing what you learn will engage them. Using what you learn will engage everyone. You never know where the next, new, big idea or constructive feedback will come from. And even if the person your meeting with just listens, I can assure you, they are listening carefully. They appreciate you took the time to share your message. Watch, weeks or months after you met with them, included them in your Road Show updates, etc. they will call or you will call them and something positive will result.

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. As far as I know, there are no donors or prospects IN your office. Go out and see them. Go on – Get out of here!

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Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mazarine  |  May 11, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Dear Barbara,

    I love this idea!

    Thanks for giving all of us fundraisers and friendraisers a good excuse to get out of the office and create those relationships!

    Also, partnering with your outreach coordinator/volunteer manager can yield a good result too!


    • 2. Barbara Talisman  |  May 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm

      Thanks for reading and for your suggestion! Great idea!!!


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