The internal relationships that a major gift officer establishes in their organization has a direct impact on their success as a fundraiser. The university leadership, faculty and staff are your essential partners for finding new leads and properly cultivating prospects towards an area of interest. The better these internal relationships are cultivated, the more money you will raise.
The benefits of these internal relationships are evident, but developing and maintaining these partnerships is something that fundraisers must consistently work on. Here are 11 tips to ensure that internal relationships are properly cultivated:
Give Thanks Publicly
In any public setting, like at a college meeting, make sure to thank faculty/staff and tell the story of how they helped with a gift. If you want to take it to the next level, use a Pathway to a Gift.
Report Back When Alumni Mention Them
If you meet with an alum that mentions a faculty member in a positive light, tell that faculty member.
Ask About Their Top Alumni
Ask faculty/staff who the most successful alumni are that they keep in contact with. Then reference that faculty’s name when reaching out to the alum.
Have faculty/staff sign cards or do a thank-you video for the donors. Show them the acknowledgment letters that are being sent to donors they helped with.
Attend college meetings and ask to present on how you can be a helpful resource for faculty/staff.
Give Credit….All the Credit
Give faculty all the credit when a gift comes in. If you meet with the dean, let them know about a faculty member that helped you.
Get to Know the Faculty/Staff on a personal level
Making small talk in the hallways and at the coffee machine will help you establish trusting relationships as a “real” person.
Chase Small Wins
Although you do not want to spend a lot of time on smaller gifts, helping with a $2,000 gift could establish a relationship with a faculty member who could come back with a $100,000 prospect.
Send Out Updates
Keep faculty/staff up to date with everything happening in the advancement world. This will remind them of your role and will result in new leads.
Buy Them Lunch
Celebrate these faculty/staff partnerships by buying them lunch.
Ask Faculty to Present at Your Meetings
Having faculty/staff come to advancement meetings to present emphasizes their importance as a partner
Overall, internal relationships are more important than external donor relationships because you can’t have success in fundraising without those internal partnerships in place. Your divisional colleagues are needed to collaborate on all the important pieces to the fundraising process. The faculty partners are needed to work with on acquiring leads and cultivating high end prospects.