As I talk with nonprofit leaders, one of the common complaints I get is “I wish I had more opportunities. I feel like my list is so short. I’ve already reached out to them over and over.”

Does this sound like you?

My friend Phil Jones has a helpful framework to address this.

He says that most of us want opportunities so we can get donations. But the problem is, opportunities don’t just come to us. They don’t find us.

He says to get to opportunities, we need to start with questions.

  • Questions lead to
  • Conversations which lead to
  • Relationships which develop into
  • Opportunities that create chances for
  • Donations

So this week, as you look at making your 5 – 10 contacts to further your major gifts, consider your starting place. If you don’t have as many opportunities as you want, try moving up, earlier in the process to asking good questions of people.

Some powerful phrases I like using are: “I’ve been wondering about your opinion on…” and “How do you think people in your position handle…”

Find something that will help you in your leadership or in running your nonprofit or in conducting a project. Something you’re sincerely curious about. And ask.

These are legitimate in the fundraising process. Asking for money is only one part of the entire cycle. But “cultivating” or engaging prospects is a vital part too.

Have fun asking curious questions this week! And bonus points if you ask major gift prospects who aren’t yet donors. And even prospects who aren’t yet part of your database or contact list.

A similar version of this was first sent to those subscribed to the weekly Fundraising Kick coaching emails. To sign up for yourself, go to:

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