How to find donors? Many nonprofits and individuals ask themselves this very question and perhaps, instead the question to ask is how can I make money like a salesman? The secret is a sales pipeline or donor cycle.
A sales pipeline (or sales funnel) is a specific sequence of actions that a sales rep takes in order to move a prospect from a new lead to a customer. Traditionally, the stages of a sales cycle is structured something like:
This same sales cycle is easily adaptable for your nonprofit and is referred to as the development, fundraising or donor cultivation cycle.
The backbone of any successful fundraising operation is an understanding of the cultivation process. The largest difference between a sales pipeline and donor cycle is that a large portion of efforts go into retaining and re-engaging donors. For example this visualization below shows how the sales pipeline becomes a circular process retaining donors.
Picture adapted by Karina Garcia (University of Wyoming) from Jessica Hipchen http://www.slideshare.net/JessicaHipchen/esp
How do I create a donor cycle? You now may be saying, "thanks, this is great information" but I encourage you to take it a step further and act on this knowledge. Hubspot is an app I came across several years ago when I was a first time nonprofit director asking myself these same questions. I was looking to quickly and efficiently document donations and increase revenue with limited resources. This is when I found Hubspot. It is a completely free online software built for sales reps.
Hubspot's sales section has a built in sales pipeline called "Deals". These deals link with individual and company contacts, allow you to set financial goals, and keep track of your progress. You can have multiple deals and multiple pipelines, all of which are fully customizable. Below is the sequence I currently use with some example deals. I specifically use this for grants and give each deal a deadline to fit within the grant cycle. I also add values to each deal so I can track my progress for the year on the Hubspot dashboard. My favorite feature is the Hubspot gmail app. This allows me to track the emails I have sent to the granters and see when they have been opened.
Whether sales pipelines or Hubspot, we can all agree those sales reps are on to something!
Member Center is an a Hubspot plug-in allowing you to affordably document subscriptions and memberships.