Partnership is most often built upon an already established relationship.
The most important thing about a gift is building a relationship with the person who gave the gift or will give a gift. Get to know the individual and do not neglect their interests. (You will need to consider businesses, churches and foundations as people too.) When looking to "go deep" with an organization, first pick one or two people within the four walls who are decision makers, and connect deeply with them. Consider grant applications, for example. Many times (unless they are government applications), grants are better received when there is someone at the foundation that you have an already established relationship with that is expecting your application. They are going to sort through the hundreds of applications they have to look for the one they are expecting from you. Building strong relationships is the key to building your donor base, and it is still key when working with organizations and foundations in general.
Identify a problem you can solve together.
Getting to know your donors means getting to know their passions. What issues are your donors passionate about solving? Identify a problem for them that you can solve together. In our last book, How to Get a Generous Response (Almost) Every Time You Ask, we discussed the concept of how the "hero" is only as great as the "villain" is bad. If the problem you are trying to solve is not the worst villain your donor has ever heard of, then the solution really isn't going to appear to be that great and your donors are not going to be motivated to fund it. Many times, individuals want to give to causes after hearing the problem because it is so devastating; and it should be. I always encourage our clients to not hold back when sharing their ministry stories because of this very reason.
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