Fundraising board game

The VIP Prospect Game for Board members Fired-Up Fundraising

Prospect Identification can be a difficult area for many board members. That’s because they are often uncomfortable sharing the names of people they know.

You know the drill – every board member is supposed to provide 10 names for the mailing list or for the annual solicitation.

And it never happens.

They don’t do it.

I don’t blame them because they are being asked to offer up their friends for a solicitation. That’s the wrong way to approach this.

That approach is all about “money.” It never works well.

Strategy at the highest level.

The approach I”m offering here is all about strategy at the highest level.

If you present it the right way, everybody will join in. You’ll get them started on a very important mission -identifying real prospects.

Major prospects. People who can make a huge – not small – difference.

“Who are the people who can catapult your organization’s future?”

Here’s where I like to start board members – at the very top. I don’t want them to focus on $100 or even $1000 prospects.

I want them to think much bigger. Identifying the few wonderful donors (foundations, corporations, individuals, organizations) who could absolutely catapult their organization to a whole new level of impact on your community.

VIP’s are Very Important Prospects.

They are the civic, political, philanthropic, religious, corporate or social leaders in your community. These major donors and key leaders should of course be your top priority.

Not only do they give, but they are also important opinion leaders who can influence many other people.

Think broadly.

But DO think big!

Here’s how to play the VIP Prospect Game with your board members.

I tell the board members this:

  1. Take out a small sheet of paper.
  2. Identify 10 people you know of who could catapult your organization’s future. (They could be current or former donors. And they could be prospective donors. And they have to be people who your organization could reasonably approach.)
  3. You DO NOT need to turn in your list – this is purely to stimulate your own thinking.
  4. Now next to their names, put down some ideas on how to get the door open to these individuals.

Then I sit down and let them work.

Then I ask them to pair up and discuss one of the names on their lists with another board member.

(Here I start them on the next step – actually discussing a cultivation strategy.)

Processing the Exercise

Then, after about another 5 minutes, I ask them what their experience was like.

They make lots of interesting comments. Since one of my goals is to get them used to this kind of thinking, I need them to reflect on the process itself.

The hook in this exercise is that they don’t have to turn their list in. (You may not like it but we need to start here.)

It makes everything different. They are free to think broadly and not be self conscious.

They’ll be much more creative by themselves or in tiny groups than they will in a full board or committee meeting where they are going to measure their words.

AND because they are thinking in terms of “Catapult, ” they are working with a more exciting potential vision than just another $100 donor.

Here’s what will happen: They’ll come to the staff afterward and ask “what about Mr. Jones? Do we know him? Has he ever given? I think I might be able to get the door open to him.”


Paper Magic Group, Inc. Eureka Vertical Classroom Banner, Goal Setting Thermometer, 45 x 12 Inches (849580)
Office Product (Paper Magic Group, Inc.)
  • Colorful banner designed to decorate walls and bulletin boards
  • Banner is 12 inches wide and 45 inches long
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Banner helps students learn to set, and work towards, goals
  • Vertical orientation is perfect for next to doors or between windows

Walker Austerity Pay Off to Big Donors PRIVATIZE

by stinger4

The State Building Commission will make the final call about which buildings to purge, according to the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal.
University officials are questioning the tactics and labeling them as haphazard. Sheldon Lubar, a prolific university donor who formerly served on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, questioned Walker’s proposal:
“I think it’s foolish, mindless and will have a very chilling effect on fundraising.”
He added, “I really don’t think [Walker] thought this through and understands the negative impact this would have on the university.”
The academic buildings are just an arm in Walker’s dubious game of Operation. The State Building Commission will have the authority to sell off key components of the...

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