Three Terrific Fundraising Tools

Too often, we spend all our time setting up appointments or going to networking events without spending the Sample call report MEETING PLANNER Intentional fundraisingtime to plan for how we want these activities to turn out.  We go to a mixer and know that we want to get people excited about our organization, but we have not clarity about what we will do next. Or we go out with a prospect and know that our eventual goal is to get a gift, but we haven’t gotten clarity about what we want to happen for this meeting.

And too often, our lack of calculation brings forward unintended consequences.  We’ve all had situations that have gone sideways because we didn’t take the time to plan not just the move we want to make, but what we want to make out of that move.

These three tools will help you to always get where you actually want to go.

For each action you plan on taking, you need to have clarity of why you are taking this action.  And you very much need to do this at two levels. Kind of like your strategic plan and then the work plan to meet your strategic goals.

The first question, then, is where do you want this to ultimately end up?

For example, if you are getting together with an existing major donor who has recently made a pledge of $100,000 that she will complete over the next 5 years, what is your fundamental purpose:


  • To finalize recognition for the gift
  • To ensure that that the pledge is honored over the five years
  • To move toward increasing the pledge in year 3 from $100,000 to $150,000 over the same period of time?
  • To get this donor on the board


There are many reasons why you would be going out with this prospect and yes, these reasons may be changed, added to, expanded over time.  But in order to ensure that this meeting sets the stage for follow on meetings, you must have clarity about your expectations and hopes.

Once you know what your long-range goal or goals is or are, your next step is to begin planning the steps you need to take to get there. At this point, you don’t need to have a complete map, but you should have a starting point, an ending point, and some planned moves in between.  Using a tool like the cultivation planning guide can be really helpful.

Once you’ve begun figuring out your journey, you need to think carefully and completely about each interaction as it is coming up.

For each interaction, the “meeting planner” is a great way to ensure that you are considering all the things you need to consider to have the outcome you want.

While this planner is laid out sequentially, I would recommend that after you put who you are meeting with—and note this could be “The Kiwanis Club,” rather than an individual, I would jump down to “Hoped for outcomes.”

Knowing where you hope to ultimately end up (and yes, this will work if this is that “ultimate” meeting), get very specific about what will make you say “YES!” at the end of the meeting.

Note that at this point, that might be something small.  YES! They agreed to come for a tour (that was my outcome), or to invite two other people to come for a tour.  Or to consider joining our president’s circle or …..

Once you know what you want to happen at the meeting, consider who else should be there.  Are there staff or volunteers?  Should you have family members of your prospect at the meeting?  Think this through carefully.

Oftentimes, we meet with the person we think holds the purse strings, only to find that there is someone else who holds great sway.  This is as true for a corporate visit as a personal one—I remember feeling quite good about having a meeting with the CEO of a large company only to be told half way through the meeting that he didn’t actually concern himself with these sorts of things and that he would set me up with his community affairs person.  I realized that I should have made arrangements for both of them to be in the room at the same time as a positive response from the CEO would positively influence the final decision.

Now I want to consider why I want the meeting.  If not cultivation/solicitation/stewardship than what?  Perhaps I really want this person to agree to open a door for me. Yes, that is also a cultivation or stewardship event, but I want to be clear about my goals.

Knowing what I want to happen, what do I need to bring to the meeting?  What information do I need to have?  To think this through, I need to consider carefully what someone would want to have in hand in order to make a decision.  Again, this may not be the decision to make a gift, but I want to ensure that he or she makes the decision to have a follow on meeting!

I must consider being donor-centric—what do I need to find out about my prospect or donor?  This means knowing what we already know about this person or organization and then being very clear about what I else we need to learn.  And finally, what do I need to remember to impart?  Is there something I want to leave this prospect with?  Something that will start the conversation?  Consider carefully what those things are.

After the meeting, intentional fundraising requires that you document not only what happened but  also what your expect your next step(s) to be.

A call report is critical to help you be intentional in your fundraising.  It is also necessary to help any of your successors also be intentional—and successful.

A call report answers a few important questions:
Did I learn something new about the prospect that will move him or her to the next step?

  • Did I learn what motivates them
  • Do I know what they love most about us?
  • Do I know what they care about and would personally support?


Your call report should contain any new information you learned, a short description of what happened, anything you promised, and—most importantly—what your next step will be.

Using these three tools—the cultivation plan, the meeting planner, and the call report, will help your fundraising be intentional, successful and relatively stressfree.

Those tools:

Cultivation and Stewardship Plan


Sample call report







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