Cultivation Resources for YMCAs
visit: focus on asking questions, probing for motivations, and laying
the groundwork. Leave behind information and make sure that you
set a date to revisit.
the current facility: nothing speaks louder than touching,
smelling, and seeing the current facility, especially when kids
and families are around. The energy and the sounds of a tour,
combined with discussion about why the YMCA is planning to expand,
are powerful cultivation activities.
group visit and lunch: bringing together a small, intimate group of prospects for lunchtime
discussion about the project can be an easy and effective way
to introduce the project to those who might not be as close to
the YMCA as we'd like. Start by meeting at the YMCA for a quick
snapshot tour and then either sit down to a catered lunch or go
off site to talk about the motivations behind the project. Use
board members as cultivation partners and ensure that each guest
has a packet of introductory information.
introductory visit: for those potential investors who
are low on the YMCA relationship scale and who are too busy to
break away from their daytime business, such as doctors, taking
the show on the road is a viable option. The use of walk-through
video tours presented on the laptop, or fly-through schematic
presentations on DVD are good ways to visually introduce the busy
professional to the project and what is planned to solve the current
challenges and meet the future opportunities.
on-site, after-hour reception: for parents, members, and other young professionals in the community,
a brief after-business reception typically fits nicely into busy
schedules. Light dinner and beverages served at a on-site information
reception works to introduce busy, younger professionals to the
project. Focus on pithy, direct, and specific messages that keep
people's attention. Your goal at these events is to introduce
the project and create a relationship that will be the basis for
more comfortable follow-through. Make sure that steering committee
members are there to start the relationship and handle the follow-through.
Telephone calls the day after should be placed by the right steering
committee member in order to thank the person for attending.
all else fails" technique: when attempting to
introduce the project to someone who might not have a strong current
YMCA relationship, many steering committee members send written
introductory correspondence and place quick calls to potential
prospects. This is our last resort technique and should be used
only when other introductory cultivation efforts do not work.
The key to success when using mailed information is to always
follow through with personal conversation either over the telephone
or in person. The answer to the age-old reply, "Can't you
just send me some information in the mail?" should be: "This
project is much too vital to our community's well-being to be
handled through correspondence. We're making such a huge impact
on our youth and families that we strongly believe that you need
to see what we are doing firsthand. I have plenty of time and
patience, and would like to see if we can secure a visit to our
us your insight, please": another powerful way to gain prospects' buy-in is to schedule
an appointment with them and provide them with one or two opportunities
to weigh in. Either allow them to review your prospect rating
cards (if you are comfortable with this) or hand them a copy of
your case statement (explicitly marked DRAFT) and request that
they provide their input and guidance. Reserve this for those
critically important prospects who you wish to bring closer to
the project and make an "insider".