We only have so much time every day as development professionals, so we need to make sure our time is well used. When do you send out a letter, and when do you meet with someone in person? I’ve starting a full development process with every donor making sure they are adequately researched and that they are fully cultivated without any thought about ROI. This is not always necessary or cost effective. You will have some donors that want to and need to be cultivated in a grassroots and annual fund way.
If you have to raise $1 million a year you, can’t spend all of your time asking for $500 gifts in person. And on the other side, if someone regularly gives you $10,000, you should probably make sure you are meeting with them in person. In fact, if you have a donor that gives you $10,000 from a mail campaign – and you ask them for a specific gift in person – that individual’s gift size will increase. I find that can often be a hard line to draw; it is easy to get caught up in going through the motions of major gifts cultivation without think about the cost benefit.
What is your cut off for asking for a gift in person versus in a letter? Does your organization make regular practice of both ways of asking for money?