Determining your healthcare development strategy can be complex and challenging, and it’s therefore vital to establish a process in order to improve the quality and efficiency of your interactions with a prospect. Every week, we’ll cover a new phase in our program to becoming a top producer in healthcare philanthropy.
Our key steps refer to the process development officers go through when interacting with each prospect. These steps are intended to be used as a guide to improve the quality and efficiency of every interaction with a prospect or donor. While some may move more quickly or slowly than others, all prospects go through each of the steps in the process. By being prepared and utilizing these steps, development officers can effectively reduce any tension between the officer and the prospect, sharpen communication skills, and generate a sense of professionalism and confidence. In the following blog series, Tips to Becoming a Top Producer in Healthcare Philanthropy, we will touch briefly on each of the key stages in the Gobel Group program, including pre-visit checklists and suggestions for talking points during each interaction, in order to assist development officers in aligning their prospects to the next stage, every time.
#5: Cultivating to Identify Area of Interest
Once you’ve reached this stage, you have now successfully qualified your prospect for interest and capacity. Perhaps you’ve already closed a one-time or annual gift. This is the time to move forward with your second visit, during which you will cultivate the relationship to identify an area of interest. During this visit, your goals must be to use the information your prospect has already shared with you to help further define their interests and to make connections between those and your medical center’s priorities. This is also a good opportunity to align the prospect for another visit, or, if it wasn’t secured in the first visit, ask for an annual gift. Your pre-visit checklist (see below) will be the same as the one you brought with you in the first meeting.
From the first meeting, you should have already identified a few broad areas of interest and collected all of the necessary information regarding those interests, so that you may intelligibly present it to your prospect. It’s very important to be thoroughly prepared so that your prospect feels respected and heard.
After you’ve narrowed down your prospect’s area of interest, there are two paths you may take:
- Ask for a next visit. Often, this will include another person, typically a physician leader, who can help you articulate the case for support and elevate the conversation. You will want to think about who is the best person to help you achieve these goals, as well as who the decision makers are in the prospect’s family. You would then ask whether you can get both of these people (physician leader and family member) to the next visit, and determine a location (the prospect’s location or yours). If the prospect agrees to the visit, code the prospect in your database in order to ensure they are invited to the right events, receiving the correct publications, and being considered for the appropriate volunteer committees.
- Ask for a leadership annual gift. Perhaps you’re wondering why you ought to ask for an annual gift, instead of asking for a major gift, given the rapport you’ve now built with your prospect and the determination that you’ve made about their capacity. Sometimes you will arrive at the end of the second visit and you won’t be certain whether the prospect is a good donor; perhaps you’re not sure of the next step. In these cases, it might be a good idea to ask for a leadership annual gift ($1,000 level). If the prospect agrees, use this gift as the beginning of your relationship, make sure to cultivate that relationship, and prepare your prospect for the bigger ask. If the prospect declines, enter them into your database with a note to consider asking for an annual gift at a later time.
Whichever path you choose, be sure to end your engagement by warmly thanking your prospect for their time.
Want to know more about becoming a top producer in healthcare philanthropy? Click here to read about the next stage, Cultivating to Articulate the Case for Support, or click here to read the previous stage, Qualifying Your Prospect.