Thoughts from the Jan 2019 Louisville AFP Luncheon

Last year, I had the opportunity to join the Greater Louisville chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Getting to know more of the non-profit leaders in my area is a great opportunity to network and learn. January’s Greater Louisville AFP meeting was definitely no exception!

As a database consultant, hearing from three local foundations that fund many of the clients that I’ve worked with was insightful and I couldn’t help but translate everything I heard them saying into practical applications for donor databases. So, while I can’t sum up the entire session in one blog post, here are a few things that I would love to see all of my clients doing to implement the knowledge that was presented by the panel.

1) The staff at foundations are people. Know their names, track their roles/responsibilities and make notes about conversation points to help you relate to them on a personal level. Treat others as you would like to be treated!
2) Keep your contacts up to date. This goes along with knowing that the staff are people. Check what names pull into mailing lists, etc. Know who should get what mailing (appeals, thank you letters, applications, etc.).
3) Track the funder’s recognition preferences. It could differ from gift to gift, so make sure you know what the funder wants and make sure that you adhere to their desires.
4) Track your contact points. Keep detailed Actions (or whatever your CRM calls them). Know when you or anyone else on your team has contacted the funder, what the reason was for the contact and what the response was. Build your plans around those responses.
5) Track your asks and the responses. You need to know if they regularly change the amount, if you’ve been declined several years in a row, etc.
6) Track their giving passions. Know what they will give to and what they will not. If they only have a passion for one aspect of your work, make sure that you know that and don’t ask them to reshape their scope of giving to meet your needs.
7) Know your own data. If you’re making an ask, know your need, your current funding for that need, etc.

If you attended, what was your takeaway? If not, what have you learned about building relationships with funders?

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