A Side Step: The Asking Part
Constituency development is about participation in your organization. By enhancing and extending constituent relations, your organization can generate more clients. You can effectively advocate for public policy and develop a stronger board. You can secure more volunteers, particularly for fund development. And you can also raise more money.
In earlier editions of this book, I said that the process of constituency development has, as its end result, the request. The request might be to join a committee or to serve on the board, to purchase the organization’s service, or to cast a certain vote on public policy. You also ask for a charitable contribution, the focus of this section.
In Keep Your Donors, I changed my mind, or expanded my thinking. For me, the process of constituency development—relationship building—begins and ends with the meaningful relationship. That is the purpose and the end, a quality relationship.
I know that fundraisers will freak out at that thought. As will their bosses and boards. So, okay. I’ll talk about asking56 now—and asking for a financial investment, too.
In general, this section relates to personal, face-to-face requests. Not street fundraising. Not direct mail. I believe that every organization needs to engage in personal, face-to-face solicitation as part of its fund development to support annual operations and the core program.
When you believe the prospect is ready to be asked, you still have two steps to complete ...