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Assess Your Opportunities

Who are you likely to be pitching to?

  • Individuals or groups?
  • People with large or small giving capacity?
  • Those with independent decision-making power or institutional gatekeepers?

How will you be connecting?

  • In person?
  • Online?
  • In writing?

Activity: Wish List

Who should you be talking to about your nonprofit? Where do they gather? Write down a list of places and groups of people you’d like to reach.

  • What are the civic clubs in your community that invite speakers from local nonprofits?
  • What congregations are active in community service?
  • What foundations give grants in your community?
  • Which publications cover nonprofits in your community?
  • What professional associations do your community members belong to?
  • What businesses sponsor events in your community?
  • What groups of people volunteer together in your community?
  • Who are the informal leaders in your community?
  • Where do community members gather informally?

Activity: Prospect Brainstorm

You can do this activity individually or in a group. Ask volunteers to pull out a sheet of paper and start writing. Share these prompts slowly, giving time to write after each:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Colleagues
  • Neighbors
  • Clubs
  • Congregations
  • Professionals (your doctor, attorney, accountant, etc)
  • Publications
  • People you haven’t talked to in a while
  • Friends of friends, weak ties
  • Now ask them a few key questions about the folks on their list:
  • Who seems interested when you have brought up the organization in the past?
  • Who shares the interest/experience/value that makes you support the organization?
  • Who might you see, talk to, send a card to over the holidays?

When your volunteers finish writing, describe the needs you’re trying to address for your nonprofit and the groups you’re trying to connect with. Ask them to share prospects who might be interested in learning more.

Test your knowledge

Who participates in a prospect brainstorming session?