Have you ever heard of the “dowsing“? No? Then what about “divining,” “doodlebugging” or “water witching“? Oh, come on . . . I am sure you have heard these terms, but you probably don’t recall. All of these words describe a process whereby someone uses a Y-shaped stick to locate groundwater. In fact, sometimes people use this process to locate gems, ores, metals, oil, and even graves. Don’t believe me . . . click here and read about it on Wikipedia.
If you want to see what water witching looks like, you can click on this YouTube video and check it out.
For the record, there is no scientific evidence that proves that water witching works.
I’ve been thinking about water witching a lot for the last few days after a conversation with a fellow fundraising professional. Here was the gist of that discussion:
- Wow! We have lots of money in our community.
- I need help identifying who has that money.
- I need access to tools like WealthEngine and Target Analytics to identify who has money?
- Once I get that prospect list of wealthy individuals put together, I will ask all of them for money and life will be good.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I think very highly of sophisticated tools like WealthEngine and Target Analytics. Very powerful stuff!
What I am bristling about this morning is the assertion that affluent people will give to you just because you’ve identified them and asked them to share their wealth with you.
I hate to be the party pooper here. But neither tech tools or a Y-shaped stick will ever take the place of good old fashion relationship building.
Here is a recipe I suggest you consider when it comes to your prospect identification strategy:
- Use your network, your current donors’ network, and your board members’ circle of influence to identify other individuals and companies who like your agency’s mission.
- Sit down with those individuals and companies. Talk about your mission, vision, goals, programs, outcomes and impact. Tell them stories about your clients and the impact you’re having on their lives.
- Invite these prospects to tour your facility. Help them see you in action.
- Ask these prospects to get involved. Join a committee. Do some volunteering.
- Invite them to one of your special event fundraisers. And down the road engage them in your annual campaign pledge drive.
- After these people renew their contribution and support a few times, then you may want to invest in a donor screening or donor profiling project using WealthEngine or Target Analytics.
Oh heck . . . if you don’t want to follow this simple, sound and proven advice, then hire me. I am happy to be your water witch. Just give me a moment to run out back and pick a fresh Y-shaped stick off of my magic fundraising tree.
How does your agency find new prospective donors? There are many different strategies. Please use the comment box below and share. We can all learn from each other.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC