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Roundtable – Major Gifts: Travel tips, tricks and donor visits

Major Gifts: Travel tips, tricks and donor visits
Moderator: Cheryl Cobbs, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Home base support

  • Have others call to confirm appointments
  • Email contact report and have someone else enter it on your behalf
  • Consider recording your contact reports on a recorder and having them transcribed
  • Provide base support with your schedule and contact information for visits so they can help you manage changes in your schedule (late, cancellations, etc)
  • Schedule time on your calendar to handle finances, schedule travel or logistics

Difficulties in getting the call/visit

  • After several failed attempts (declined by the prospect), have another colleague try to set the visit
  • After a specific number of failed attempts, cycle the prospect out of your pool
  • Try a spontaneous drive by visit (if convenient) and leave a note or card

Technology is your friend

  • I-pads or laptops can offer access to your database and donor information, enter contact reports.
  • Make presentations to donors on ipad or laptop (virtual tours, special projects, event highlights, etc)
  • Map Point or other similar program provides a way to identify donors/prospects in a particular geographic area that can help in tracking who you have visited or in organizing streamlined visits
  • Text messages and facebook are ways to stay in touch with people
  • Wealth screening- identify new donors or prospects, priorities resources, narrow the scope of a large group of data

Who pays for dinner?

  • Various ideas were presented that included
    • Whomever invites
    • Top ranking university representatives
    • Donors who don’t want to see the university spend funds this way
    • Key thought is to discuss this as a staff or understand institutional policies around the issue

Last minute cancellations

  • Opportunity for a call to reschedule or send follow up materials
  • Understand the cancellation, but look for ways to leverage the situation to your advantage
  • Bring a list of extra people to call or visit as a “back up plan” so that the time is not lost
  • Alter the remainder of the day if possible to best utilize your time
  • Make thank you calls


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