Identify Prospects

The Funding Roadmap: Align Your Story, Team and Sales Process

The For Impact Funding Roadmap has been built, tested, and refined in working with thousands of organizations to raise over $2Billion. Though each organization is unique, we believe the Roadmap has universal application – Whether you’re a startup, a college running a large campaign, or an international NGO – every funding initiative needs a STORY, a TEAM, and a FUNDING PROCESS.
[Download the PDF.]

Here are some quick thoughts on the Roadmap. [We’re also leading a teleseminar this Tuesday with more explanation, examples and help to APPLY the Funding Road Map to your funding. Register here.]

Design your STORY

The funding roadmap begins with STORY.  A great story is anchored in hope-filled purpose, simplifies what you do, and serves as a litmus for action.

  1. Simplify your MESSAGE. Message is what people HEAR, not what you SAY. What do we want people to HEAR? Ultimately, this should be a message about CHANGING, SAVING, or IMPACTING lives.
  2. Create your FUNDING RATIONALE. A Funding Rationale is why you need the money, and what you will do with money. Another way of thinking about this is around defining the ask. (Most organizations don’t have a good ‘ask’.)
  3. Design your PRESENTATION. The ‘ASK’ is an experience. We actually stop to think about the complete experience, from predisposition, to the environment, to the materials.

Really important point about STORY. This is not just a ‘funding thing’ – It guides your IMPACT and provides MEANING for your TEAM.  Organizations so often enter a cycle of strategic planning – I wish there was a norm to enter into a cycle of STORY planning!

Develop your TEAM

Jim Collins says, “First WHO, then WHAT.”  With our Funding Roadmap we might say, “First WHY, then WHO, then WHAT!”  

  1. Commit to SALES.  Every organization needs to STOP and make a commitment to sales. What does this mean for your team? For your organization? For your strategy/resources?  
  2. Engage LEADERSHIP.  Leadership needs to be bought into the STORY and likely even the source of the STORY. Leadership also needs to be bought into the model.  
  3. Model TEAM SELLING.  This is about defining roles and responsibilities for staff, board and champions.  

    Important note: In a true sales model, your board is not responsible for fundraising! In a true sales model there is a role for board members that is very different from saying they are responsible for fundraising.

FUND your VISION

  1. Identify/ Prioritize/ Strategize your PROSPECTS.  Prospects. Drive. Everything.
    There is a lot to say on prospects (that’s why we have a whole guidebook) but here are some key points:

    • Focus on your top prospects
    • Focus ‘top-down’
    • Present the Opportunity (And don’t make decisions for your prospects!)
    • When building a strategy ask this question, “What would it look like to maximize this relationship?”
    • Maximize relationships at this given moment
  2. Just VISIT. In the words of the prolific sales trainer, Brian Tracy, “Spend more time with better prospects.” We’ve been teaching this for years. There is so much value in the old maxim, “JUST SHOW UP.”
    The visit is the entire context for the ASK. It has three parts:

    • Predisposition
    • The Presentation
    • Follow-up
  3. Just ASK. This is kind of an alpha/omega to everything we teach.

Finally, it’s worth tying this all together as it relates to the For Impact Point of View:

Impact Drives Income.  

Impact is about your STORY.  

You need a PROCESS to make the INCOME happen.  

And, PEOPLE drive everything!

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Wealthy Prospects vs. Qualified Prospects

The wealthiest names on your list are not necessarily the most qualified prospects. A truly qualified prospect for your organization has both wealth (financial capacity) AND a relationship with your cause. Here’s the really important point: They musthave BOTH (to some degree).

Too many organizations are trying to figure out how to bend and twist a case for a prospect
with the highest capacity (and very little connection to cause).

Example: Imagine you are an organization impacting cancer.

  • Prospect #1: A really visible billionaire located in your city. This billionaire gives primarily to his or her alma mater and the arts.
  • Prospect #2: More modest capacity (could make a six or seven-figure commitment). Located in a different city and has had two siblings directly impacted by a type of cancer your organization works on.

Prospect #2 is wayyyyy more qualified than Prospect #1.

Reminders:

  • Quality dictates priority and focus. Focus on your most QUALIFIED prospects
  • A truly qualified prospect will also help you find five more great prospects
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Define Your Ideal Prospect

I’m absolutely stunned, amazed and flabbergasted that so very few organizations and sales teams actually take the time to define their ‘IDEAL PROSPECT’! (This is just as true in the ‘FOR PROFIT’ world as it is in the ‘NOT FOR PROFIT’ sector.)

The IDEAL PROFILE is one of the most powerful TOOLS that we use during our IDENTIFICATION PROCESS.

Don’t blow by this one. It has created many, many ‘MILLION DOLLAR’ prospects and INVESTORS.

 
Here’s the concept:

If you can actually come up with a PROFILE of your BEST PROSPECT/ INVESTOR then you simply have to MATCH this IDEAL PROFILE with REAL PEOPLE!

In essence, this IDEAL PROFILE would be a simple ‘list’ of absolute best characteristics of your PERFECT (IDEAL) PROSPECT that should include examples of how we know the following:

Unlimited Capacity (Or Capacity to Make a ‘Major Gift’)
ex. Have multiple homes in expensive zip codes, Recently sold a business, Could drive a Ferrari, but drives a Tesla, etc.

Relationship To The Cause (Kids, Education, Health Care, Cancer, Workforce Development, Disadvantaged Populations, Etc.)
ex. A Cancer Survivor or Spouse/Loved One of a Survivor

Geographically Connected
ex. Someone who may not live in your Community, but who has strong roots or ties

Interest/Connection To The Priorities, Programs Or Projects

Philanthropic
ex. Has given significantly to other organizations, especially those working on the same cause

Note: You can come up with more than one ‘ideal’ profile. For example, for a Campaign, for a transformational gift, for a legacy commitment, for President’s circle etc.

(more…)

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