The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
The Four Fundamental Roles
There are four fundamental roles each Fund Advisory Committee member should take on as part of their service to their affiliated fund.
In the words of Jim Gustafson, NCF Director of Advancement and Gift Planning, donor visits are like a rain dance…80% of success depends on TIMING. Donor visitation and charitable gift planning is a matter of seizing opportunities and acting at the right time. Our job at NCF is to help you learn how to identify those opportunities and what to say when you do.Get to Know What’s Important to Potential Donors
Fostering donor relationships can be compared to panning for gold. You must talk to many people in order to secure gifts for your affiliated funds. This premise is illustrated by the illustration below:
This triangle shows that your affiliated fund needs to be talking with many donors, which is the “prospect” portion of the illustration. This is where you start the process of working with donors. You will spend the majority of your time looking for potential donors and talking to them. Then based on the information you learn during those prospecting visits, you “cultivate” the relationship with donors whose ideals match with the vision and mission of your affiliated fund. Finally, you “ask” for gifts at the right time.
The most important rule to remember in building charitable assets is that people give to people they know and trust. The peer relationship is key.
Peers are more likely to share with one another their hopes, passions and capacity to give back. Understanding all these issues is critical before “the ask” is ever made.Have Conversations
The key to building vibrant donor relationships is having conversations. There are three keys to successful donor relationship building and visitations.
You need to talk to as many people about your affiliated fund as possible. You never know what someone is thinking until you talk with them. Interject your involvement with your affiliated fund into your everyday conversations. Tell potential donors why YOU gave to your affiliated fund. What motivated you to give from you personal estate? Why is your affiliated fund’s vision and the mission of important to you?
Donor relationship building is about a lot more than asking for money – you need to articulate why your affiliated fund is important to you and then understand the wants and desires of potential donors before you can begin asking them to give to your affiliated fund.Make Your Own Commitment
You’ll have the most credibility with prospective donors if you’ve made your own gift first. NCF encourages Fund Advisory Committee members to make both annual or current gifts and planned gifts before you approach a donor. NCF established the Community Legacy Award to recognize affiliated funds when 100% of their Fund Advisory Committee members make a planned gift to benefit their community. Download guidelines for the Community Legacy Award.
Kathy Thuman has made cash contributions of more than $180,000 to support the Nebraska Community Foundation’s mission.
“I really feel that the Nebraska Community Foundation’s endowment campaign is a great way to give to the whole state, and have some influence over the whole state, because we really are a single community. We’re a small population and we know each other,” Kathy said.Read more →