1 advancement strategy (n. phrase)
Advancement is a term preferred by higher education institutions for all integrated development strategies. Successful fund-raising “advances” the educational mission of a school and the scholarship of its students. In these tough economic times, with disappearing funding sources and operating costs that continue to climb, many colleges are pursuing “cross-organizational” fund-raising strategies in order to support “information technology implementation” (computers and tech), “facility upgrades” (buildings), scholarships and “faculty retention” (hiring and raises).
2 key cultivation touch point (n. phrase)
Refers to the individual(s) at a non-profit institution and/or on a non-profit board who initiate contact and maintain primary relationships with a prospective donor, patron or sponsor. It can also mean a particular goal or issue of personal importance or interest to such prospective donors.
3 solicitation assignment (n. phrase)
The person who is going to make that first call to cultivate a new or unsuspecting potential alumnus, donor, patron or sponsor. Solicitation assignments are often assembled in a weekly “call list” that a development/advancement team distributes to its institutional fund-raisers: presidents, board members, directors, curators, etc.
4 major donor visit (n. phrase)
When a donor has made a generous contribution in one of the higher “giving level” categories, a capable and organized development/advancement team will invite him or her to a special preview, patron event or curator-assisted exhibition walk-through with whatever bells and whistles can be summoned to deepen the relationship and the tempting prospect of future gifts and continued “legacy giving.”
5 evolving a structure (v. phrase)
Figuring out with whom, what, where, when and how new fund-raising tactics and events are going to be organized, and with what policies and procedures. Could refer to such varying tools as organizing an auction or gala, gift donation agreements, membership levels or integrated marketing and messaging campaigns.
6 prospect pipeline (n. phrase)
An agenda feature of regularly scheduled advancement/development meetings, this term refers to prospective alumni, donor, patrons or sponsors who have not been known to give any financial support to an institution. Usually selected and cultivated for their perceived “wealth capacity,” these prospects are often constantly wooed by a number of different non-profit organizations, so getting individual prospects into the pipeline is a feat in itself.
7 “They’ve drunk the Kool-Aid” (phrase)
Former prospects who have been previously cultivated by an institution, embraced its mission and goals and given financial support, and who thus do not need to be “sold.”
8 Close the conversation (phrase)
Cultivating a new prospect can be a time-consuming exercise in authentic relationship-building, starting with introductions, initiating conversations and listening to “giving preferences” and opportunities. This term refers to the moment of truth when a prospect is asked for direct financial support.
9 “When will you do the ask?” (phrase)
See no. 8 above, close the conversation.
10 Membership melt (n. phrase)
Non-profit institutions like museums are constantly implementing new membership appeal strategies and tactics to bring in new members or upgrade basic memberships to a higher level of support. This is because old members continually drop out, forget to renew, move away or present other circumstances that contribute to melt.—ANONYMOUS
The author is the executive director of an American institution who has requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of revealing information about how donors and fund-raising are approached.