The Five R’s of Fundraising

This forms the basis of the entire campaign and all of your future alumni programming. From basic records management to in-depth interviews, information is key to success. Potential recruits and prospective donors, and their individual needs and wants, must be completely identified.

This phase is going on constantly, but primarily during the same time frame as heavy research. Volunteers, from leadership level to initiation class chairman, are all necessary for a successful campaign. The amount of work involved and the number of people through the years that must be contacted demands it.

Commonly called cultivation, this is perhaps the most important part of the process. All contact is a form of cultivation. Every publication, phone call, event, and publicity item serves to inform and interest your alumni. While this happens all the time, a concerted effort needs to be made prior to soliciting funds. The goal is to get prospects involved with the cause.

This is the good part, where the prospect is actually asked to invest. Not surprisingly, this is best done by a member, preferably one close to the prospect. Actual soliciting for most gifts is done by your volunteers.

Early, frequent, and creative ways to thank your volunteers and donors will insure that they stay involved and invested. It also sets a pattern which other prospects will notice.

Every contact, with every alumnus, involves one or more of the Five R’s. Maximizing the effectiveness of those contacts is what will get you to your goal.