b'FEATURED ARTICLEpotential inclination to make a meaningful impact on our2.what types of cultivation strategies were most institutions.effective; 3.when and where to make the ask; Uncovering these potential donors can be a touchy4.who to involve in the ask; and business. A few will self-select. Many others must be5.how best to celebrate the donor. carefully nurtured into the fold. Chances are, these people are involved in other causes and are determinedHaving said that, there is one universal truth that I have to keep low profiles. While we can tap into databasefound transcends all philanthropic cultures.Im a big screening software to identify prospects, I prefer to usebeliever in eliminating surprises when it is time to make that tool only as a baseline metric. I find that personalthe ask. As Ann Badger recently reminded me, the ask conversations yield the best results for identifyingbefore the ask is critically important. Ask their permission prospects for major gifts. One tactic I use involvesto have the conversation in advance and you will greatly concluding every conversation with a donor with, Is thereincrease your chances of a positive outcome.anyone else you feel I should be talking to about supporting the school? Its a simple sentence, but it works wonders in generating new connections to people with anFrom cultivation to conversioninterest in supporting the school. It then becomes theFor those of us who have been at our schools for a while, responsibility of the Advancement team, school head orit is very natural to find ourselves in the dreaded friend a lead donor to begin cultivating that potential supporterzone. You are making good connections with a prospect, toward a shared vision of the school and to inspire theirand yet there is little to no progress on making the ask. giving. Understanding philanthropic cultures In these situations, Ive found that adding a third person to the mix is an effective strategy. When setting up an Early in my career, I neglected to appreciate the variationsappointment, invite the school head, CFO, or a board in philanthropic culture from place to placenot onlymember to join you in discussing the upcoming campaign different countries, but for regions within those nations.or strategic plan. This often disrupts the status quo and In the U.S., every educational institution seems to bemoves the process forward. Of course, if this person can different, too. While the University of Southern Californiabe a classmate or peer who has already given, so much places plaques across its campus highlighting thethe better. names of its benefactors, Stanford University is more understated. K-12 school communities also vary in their cultures.Mobilising volunteer and school leadership involvementWhen preparing to make the ask of a prospective donor,In a strange way, the process of involving other people take the time to understand their culture of philanthropy.in a cultivation visit or solicitation has been made easier Years ago, on a trip to Hong Kong, I asked a group ofwith the online technologies required by COVID-19. In the Alumni what our school was doing that was working forpast, it was nearly impossible to get two spouses together them and what wasnt. I learned they had little intereston a busy workday for a conversation on their potential to in the annual fundWhy dont you just charge more?make a gift. Now, we can far more easily coordinate times And they had little interest in endowment. But they lovedvia Zoom. Nothing replaces the in-person experience, but specific projects. Based on their feedback, we beganfor me, this has indeed been a slight silver lining. a Pacific Rim technology fund. It is a component of our annual fund but designated for this group of people.Other people to involve in the process of an ask can include any of the following: the head of school, the chair Only by understanding this communitys culture was I ableof the board or development chair, the CFO, academic to gauge: dean or other administrator.1.how aggressive to be; NOVEMBER 2021 81'