Are Your Donors GOOD ENOUGH For You?

• tin cup • Ellen Bristol • Bristol Strategy Group • ideal donor profiles • donor profiles • DonorSearch • improve fundraising results
Ellen Bristol

Tired of donor prospects who promise much but deliver little?  Wasting time on donors who can't seem to make up their minds?  No surprise. Raising major gifts (or major anythings) is hard work. Plus it's even tougher when your "prospects" turn out to be DOA - dead on arrival. They don't really have the money. They don't really love your mission. Or they just don't like you, personally. Sigh.


Rich woman giving a coin to homeless man in need-1No nonprofit can afford to squander its scarce and precious fundraising time, which is why we ask "are your donors GOOD ENOUGH for you?" If they're not - if they're unqualified, aren't interested in your mission or cause, don't give to charity in the first place, they will be very costly to acquire - and you might even be sorry you did. Then, guess what - the flow of income starts to dry up, you get anxious, and next thing you know, you've adopted the tin-cup mentality. "Help, we need money! Rescue us!"

Well, quit it. That's a lousy, oops I mean ineffective way to raise major funding for your nonprofit. STOP trying to make unqualified prospects like you (or rescue you). Flip the concept on its head and ask:  "Hey - are you GOOD ENOUGH  to be worth my scarce, precious time? (Note: please ask yourself that question. It will backfire if you throw it into the face of your next prospect.) 

Now before you hit the roof, I am not denigrating those small gifts representing real sacrifice. This blog is just about how to know if the donor you're cultivating in hopes of a larger gift are really worth your time. Because you just don't have a lot of it - time, that is. Because time is in short supply, it's in your best interests to know whether the prospect meets your standards and justifies the investment of your development resources. 

Our SMART Way Prospect Scorecard is a great way for you to document your agency's ideal-funder profile, based on your standards giving motivations, charitable values, and so on. When you combine it with DonorSearch prospect research services, you have an unbeatable combination to help your development team get the most out of their fundraising efforts. They'll know immediately which prospects are worth further investment - and which ones just don't make the cut. 

Funding prospects are "good enough" to invest time and energy if they:

  • Match your ideal-donor profile. Unfortunately, according to our Leaky Bucket Assessment, about 76% of all fundraising departments lack a documented ideal-donor profile including giving motivations.
  • Have a history of giving to philanthropy, especially to causes like yours. Find out with DonorSearch, the most powerful prospect-research service in the market.
  • Have the capacity and track record to meet your objectives. Decide what works for your nonprofit by building your SMART Way Prospect Scorecard!

Check out this short video by me and Stuart Entwistle, as we discuss how to find NEW funders who are "good enough" for you - and even better, discover the hidden assets in your donor base, current or recent donors who could give you much larger gifts - if you cultivate them correctly.

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