Don't give up! That's what I really wanted to call this blog post. I went for the current title because it tells a better story.
Persistence definitely does pay off! I added the word loving because angry, inpatient or hurried persistence does not pay off!
This thought will not be a surprise to those of you who have been fundraising for a while. Yet it is always a great reminder for me! As one whose focus is always on the ongoing relationship and never on a one-time gift, relationship building can take time.
One area of fundraising where I really have to keep this in mind is in corporate. My great example is this:
A couple months after starting at Opera Colorado I found a potential corporate partner on LinkedIn. I connected with him and sent a message simply introducing myself. A couple of months later I had a one on one with him and it went amazingly well. I kept checking in with him once a month (not too much!) and when I planned a corporate partner event I invited him. He couldn't make it but a few folks from his office came. A couple of months after that I found myself sitting for lunch with one of his associates talking about a partnership.
They bought a package to our Gala. This was their first gift to us and it took over a full year. This is an example of when loving persistence paid off. I knew all along that a partnership between them and us would totally benefit both organizations. Now we are meeting to discuss a multi-year partnership plan.
This is my experience with corporate giving and corporate partners. I try to use the same wisdom with major gifts. I try to never rush, and to always keep my eyes on the prize: a long term, true partnership.
How does each organization benefit from the partnership? What does my agency have to offer within the realm of a corporate partnership? These are great things to discuss when working with a potential new corporate partner (and also potential major donors!).
I hope this is of some benefit to you. Thank you very much for reading!