Couples getting married usually are “registered” at places ranging from Tiffany to Target. Now along comes a story in the Wall Street Journal about couples who “have everything” registering on such sites as the Heiffer Project and Oxfam.
The Journal tells us of a prospective bride who forgoes a bachelorette party for one of decorating cupcakes for the homeless.
Lucette Lagnado, the reporter, observes on extending the traditional formula to “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,’ by adding ‘something to give to charity.”
However, the latest daughter in the Post family dating back to great-great grandmother Emily, is quoted warning about not turning the wedding into a ” charity fund-raiser.”
Altruism has always run strong in this country and this is yet another terrific manifestation of that American character noted by Toqueville, Bryce, Brogan, Barzini, and Pas, among others.
What an inventive way to encourage giving. We need to constantly innovate in our nonprofit world to encourage such new ways of giving, to create new traditions.
How do we convert individuals giving these memorials and honor gifts, often one-time donors, into regular annual donors, perhaps even capital and planned giving contributors?
The first step is in not only thanking the new donor and having the honoree or the family of the memorialized also send thanks as part of a longer range cultivation. Adding those prospective donors to the full communications net is the next step.
To distinguish those with a potential from those only responding in the moment, follow up in person or by phone inviting the potential donor to an event or for service as a volunteer or merely wanting to stay on the mailing list will quickly and efficiently send the empathic development officer the signals about longer term prospects.
Such new traditions combined with demographic change, behavioral differences and a host of other variables go into the mix of qualifying suspects and prospects for follow-up.
Prospecting has always been a Sisephisian task. We need always to be aware of new trends, traditions-in-the-making, new modalities of communicating, generational and demographic change and behavioral preferences.
There is a large potential for the development of new and additional charitable support. We have too long relied on a specific, familiar cohort of donors, drawing new donors from those same ranks. It is time to engage in the difficult, hard work of broadening the base in significant ways.
Weddings are a welcome new avenue for development of donors. It is only one in a blossoming array of opportunities, if we only but look.
Copyright 2012 The Good Counsel, division of Toscano Advisors, LLC. May be duplicated with citation.