Thirteen Touches


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Published May 1, 2013


A Program That Ensures Successful Fundraising

Next to getting the Gift, providing effective stewardship is your most important job. And if you want to dramatically increase your Planned Giving and Bequest program, what follows is your path to success.

Develop and institute an annual contact plan for possible major gift donors that utilize thirteen pre-planned contacts during each calendar year. Put the plan in writing.

THREE PRESIDENT/CEO LETTERS* (February, June, November).  A letter-style, personalized communication (not newsletter style) from your CEO/ President.  Focus on the institution’s recent accomplishments and compelling plans for the near future, as a result of the donor’s generosity. (Three touches)

THREE PLANNED GIVING ORIENTED PIECES  (April, July, September-adding a fourth piece in November is an option).  Letter-style, personalized communications (not newsletter style) which focus on people who have used planned gift strategies to achieve personal and philanthropic aspirations.
(Three touches)

THREE “THANK YOU” LETTERS from clients, front-line attorneys, or staff directly or indirectly engaged in the institution’s work (January (week one), August, October)— letter-style, personalized communications (not “newsletter style”) signed by people who can say “thank you” for philanthropic support because they see and feel its impact.  These letters should be written by staff or professional writers to achieve the necessary focus and drama, but reflect the reality the signer is reporting. (Three touches)

THREE OPPORTUNITIES TO GIVE (January, May, December)  Some ideas to consider are provided, below.  (Three touches)

i. “HONOR ROLL MAILING” in which the Honor Roll listing for each donor in the upcoming Annual Report is reviewed for accuracy. Donors are given an opportunity to either upgrade last year’s donor recognition or make a gift in the new year (January – week four).

ii. SPRING ANNUAL GIVING OPPORTUNITY – a letter that focuses on the renewal that spring brings and the importance of renewing support for the institution’s programs that offer personal renewal and freedom (May – week 2).

iii. The Institution’s traditional year-end annual giving campaign style letter (December – week one).

ANNUAL REPORT  March or something other that is suitable if the institution does not publish an Annual Report.  (One touch)


*  Actually, I prefer a one-page letter, front and back, from the CEO that goes out to high-end donors every four weeks.