Qualification: it’s perhaps the least favorite responsibility of a fundraiser. No one can argue the importance of qualifying new prospective donors; without it, our pipelines shrink and our fundraising becomes unsustainable. But that doesn’t make it any less intimidating.

That’s why leadership support for prospect qualification is essential. Leaders who reduce barriers and reward activity will, without fail, see stronger, sustained results.

Could any of these examples be adapted for your shop?

  • The University of Denver has completed two “Qualification Sprint Campaigns” based on the KDD Philanthropy qualifications training. These campaigns last five weeks, and each fundraiser is given a list for discovery/greater frequency of outreach with a goal of qualifying/disqualifying. Every touch point counts as a success, and their last campaign resulted in: 196 qualified prospects, 165 qualification meetings, and 2,088 qualification outreaches!
  • Another client has implemented “10–2 Tuesdays,” where all frontline staff make calls, share wins, and brainstorm challenges. This shared and ongoing effort has led to a significant increase in qualification activity.
  • In January, Case Western Reserve implemented a qualification protocol for 25 prospects at a time. They took the KDDP recommended 11 step process, and massaged to match their program needs. Early indicators are showing that the increased rigor is supporting stronger qualification results.
  • Another higher education client conducted an alumni survey — and realized that they needed to carry this effort further than just skimming responses for capacity indicators. Instead, they divvied the surveys and had team members call each respondent to engage in an authentic conversation, learning more about each alum and how they’d like to be engaged moving forward.

Each of these strategies has a few critical elements in common:

  1. They reward the effort. Qualifying new prospects is deeply important, but also high-effort for longer-term results. By creating strategies that reward fundraisers for doing the work, leaders remove a significant hurdle.
  2. They create rigor. By developing time-limited, high-volume campaigns, leaders set the pace for a focused, high-activity approach.
  3. They are relationship-focused. Fundraisers are contacting donors to get to know them, to understand their interests, to meet them where they are. This is the only approach that works.

By creating these three elements, you not only uncover newly qualified prospects — you also create a stronger culture of qualification that will continue to yield results. What steps can you take today to bring these three elements together at your shop?

If additional training and tools can help you polish your qualification tools, join us for the next two KDD Philanthropy qualification webinars in May and June!  And, if you want session one of the qualification webinar, you can purchase the recording, deck and exercise.

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