Donor cultivation is the most underappreciated and misunderstood part of the fundraising funnel. Of the four primary components of the fundraising lifecycle (prospecting, cultivation, asking, and stewardship), it is cultivation that most often trips up most fundraising efforts.
For most nonprofits, there is no real clue of what “donor cultivation” really means. Cultivation is everything that happens between the time you identify a person as a prospect for your organization until the time you make the first ask. Cultivation is the process of building a relationship with your prospect, communicating with them, and ultimately moving them down the road towards that ask.
Donor cultivation is basically building a relationship with a prospect. You don't simply call someone up and ask for $10,000 at the end of the conversation. You have to get to know the donor, and the donor has to get to know you and your nonprofit. Today I am going to break down how to do this quickly, effectively and successfully.
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