How many times have you opened a constituent record and thought to yourself, “Didn’t I meet with Mr. and Mrs. Moses last spring?” And then said, “Why yes, I did. And I wonder what we talked about and what they may have said that would better guide our efforts to further the relationship?”
So, you earn an A+ for the meeting and an F for doing zero reporting and tracking of the interaction. Is this really such a big deal? Can it really impact my institution and its ability to raise more money? Do you think other charities are recording their interactions with Mr. and Mrs. Moses?
The answers are Yes, Yes and Yes!!! Good intentions are not how we raise funds these days. The ability to speak swiftly without any real substance is no longer valued by prospective donors. Sophisticated fundraisers are allocating relevant time working on their call reports, carefully recording specifics from a visit, and developing strategies that will work to match donor interests with identified institutional needs.
The donor meeting is essential to furthering your organizations’ relationship with them and “discovering”, i.e. as in the “discovery call”, what their specific charitable interests are focused toward and how they could intersect with the mission and vision you are trying to sustain. Many times the meeting produces some of the most obvious things that offer insight to their personal feelings toward business, family, hobbies and other charitable activities in addition to what you know about the relationship with you.
The documentation that you create is not just for your benefit. It’s to build a history that could contain years of information and a number of “relationship manager” notes that offer the in-depth look at the constituent’s real passion that will lead to the gift outcome that you desire. Why wouldn’t you want as much detail as possible to fully influence the result? Of course you do!