People are just plain busy again – especially those high net-worth prospects you are trying to court. It can be challenging, even frustrating, to get any response from your requests, right? Keep in mind, your prospects have lots of competing priorities, none of which may include you. What will it take to make you stand out and get noticed? Your value to a prospect is vitally important and can make all the difference. Check out these tips to help you move the needle on your value-meter. You’ll not only demonstrate your worth so you can close “the ask,” but you’ll build a lasting partnership that will benefit both you and your prospect!
Networking with fellow alumni can be a great asset to a prospect. Let’s be honest – successful alumni like to meet other successful alumni. A simple introduction on your part can open the door for your prospect. If your university has an alumni engagement network, encourage your prospect to check it out. Use any/all social media platforms, especially LinkedIn to make those connections. Your prospect will appreciate the time you take to help facilitate new connections.
Likewise, with faculty. Make an introduction with key faculty that are conducting research or have an expertise in an area that is of interest to your prospect. It’s a great opportunity for that faculty member to become a trusted advisor not only to the prospect but potentially to their company as well. Your introduction could also lead to joint research projects, laboratory usage, advisory board participation, or even strategic meetings with the senior leadership of your university.
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Get to know your prospects. Read up on industry trends and company articles. Do your homework. The time you invest in educating yourself will increase your value to the prospect. If your university magazine features an article that might interest your prospect, send them a copy – especially if it’s related to new research development in the industry. You’ll impress your prospects by showing your interest in their business, perhaps even developing future collaborative ideas that could mutually benefit their company and your university. It’s another great way to increase future engagement opportunities and distinguish yourself from other competing fundraisers.
Who doesn’t love a perk? Consider inviting your prospects to campus to be your guest at high-profile university events. Free tickets to sports events and other university events will go a long way. Don’t forget to check for other local events happening in closer to them if they are out of state. Demonstrate you were listening to their interests. They’ll appreciate the effort you show. Be creative.
Every company would love exclusive access to your pipeline of talented students to recruit. If your prospect’s company is in the market to recruit for co-ops or to hire top-talent, be sure to inform them about special events such as career fairs, hackathons, student competitions, and keynote speaking engagements. Hosting a company on campus is a great way to increase their branding on campus and in the community. Company recognition also goes a long way. It’s a win-win for you and your prospect.
If your prospect has a positive affinity to your university, that’s step 1. But there’s more to building the relationship than that. Your value can’t be only lip service. It’s like your credit score…a good number can signify that your finances are on the right track. The same concept applies for your prospects. By investing in building the relationship, your value and trust will increase. The result? Those major gift conversations will become easier…and they will get back to you. Ready to move your needle?
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