Tuesday, December 2, 2008

From a charity fundraisers point of view part II

Following Part I of the letter from Kimberley Mackenzie, here is the much anticipated Part II.

The last blog finished with a story about a corporate who stopped supporting Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation - this time we start on a postive note.

'Corporate Fundraising – Getting the Money
A key sponsor of our annual event this year hasn’t fully paid their sponsorship. We had a lunch meeting this week.

My intent was to secure payment before the end of the year. This was a tough job because I knew that their $100 million project is in a bit of a holding pattern and many of their banks are outside of Canada.

Do you mention the recession?

Well, these guys are international businessmen – they know we are in the worst economic crisis since the depression. In fact conversations with their banks everyday remind them. How could we not?

The first twenty minutes of lunch was full of empathy for their situation. If we ask and listen we can learn a LOT about a corporation’s financial structure – particularly right now. The next five minutes included us very candidly sharing with them our reality and our expectation of them for 2008.

By the end of the lunch, through candid, honest and very pleasant conversation (yes okay there was a little wine too!) we secured the 2008 commitment AND a further commitment for 2009.

(As well as serious intent to take on a leadership role in a $500,000 project next year.) The total cash value of the lunch after talking about their current financial challenges, acknowledging the importance of the relationship and being flexible about terms of payment is $50,000 over the next 14 months.

This is significant money for organizations with budgets under $1 million. The CEO of the corporation told me – and gave me permission to share with you – his advice for negotiating with the corporate world:

...spend time with prospects whose interests are aligned with your organizations mission. Staying involved from his perspective is just common sense and good for his business. Pretty simple really isn’t it? '

Posted by Sean Triner, but really written by Kimberley


Laurie Pringle said...

Interesting that the comments from Kimberley's donor align perfectly with the recent survey posted on The Agitator: http://www.theagitator.net/research/simply-inexcusable/

The #1 reason (wealthy donors stopped giving), cited by almost 60% of respondents, is that they were "no longer feeling connected to the organization."

Kimberley MacKenzie said...

Thanks for the Agitator link Laurie. Always good to see data backing up intuition and common sense.

Would love to hear what other fundraisers are doing to stay connected to their donors right now.