Sometimes the difference between a lead and everyone else is just a frame of mind. People connect, volunteer, and donate to your organization because they agree with and believe in what you are doing. I’m surprised by what it takes for someone at some organizations to become a prospect. Unless you have a specific contrary reason, everyone connected to your organization should be considered a lead. Staff, volunteers, big donors, little donors, board members, and alumni all are leads. It is important that you frame your message in an appropriate way to each of these groups but they are all still leads.
People calling your organization, attending an event, subscribing to your e-newsletter: these are all clear messages that they want to hear more about you. Fundraising isn’t about asking for money as often as possible; it is about creating relationships with the good work that your organization is doing and providing opportunities to partner with that good work.
I am always amazed at how donors find an organization. The paths that people take from stranger to supporter are numerous. Don’t limit your development work by forcing everyone to come become a donor only through one medium.