Are Your Solicitors Well Trained?

small college fundraising imageWhen Mersky, Jaffe & Associates was contacted by a small New England college, it had an endowment of over $160 million, 40,000 living alumni, an extensive fundraising staff and complex development operations. Each element of it’s development program (annual giving, alumni affairs, leadership gifts, corporate and foundation giving, stewardship, and donor relations) operated with autonomy and with little integration until the new Vice President for Institutional Advancement reached out to Mersky Jaffe & Associates for help.

Was it possible to strengthen the development operation and enable the enterprise to work together as a team? Could everyone become a well-trained solicitor?

MJA planned, designed, and delivered a human resources development program for all institutional advancement staff members, top to bottom. Concentrating on building understanding of fundraising as a process, the program focused specifically on major gifts and moves management—the system of policies, procedures and practices that direct relationship-building actions.

Simply put, Mersky, Jaffe & Associates helped the fundraising staff at the college learn that everyone is a solicitor and that every contact should be treated as a step toward the next major gift. The program employed team building exercises, exposure to the theory and practice of fundraising as well as role-playing face-to-face solicitations. As a result, staff came to see their individual roles within a wider development context and each one became an integral member of the institutional advancement team.