Q. My executive director has a brought many new donors to our organization with whom she has close, personal relationships. How do I shift the relationship so that it focuses on the organization and not just the ED?

A. The transition from personal relationship to organizational relationship is extremely important if you would like to maintain a bond with the donor long after the executive director may have left your organization. Good for you for planning ahead!

The best way to go about the transition is to get donors personally involved in your organization. Consider developing programs that showcase the enterprise. These “gateway” events are an important entry point to your organization through which you want your current and potential donors to pass. Do they want to see your pre-school in action? What about an after-school mentorship program? If you are contemplating a much-needed expansion and renovation, then perhaps you should provide a tour of the current site with a virtual experience of the new, expanded, state-of-the-art facilities and their projected uses? Your donors are potential long-term—even life-long—investors in your organization and it is worth it to treat them as such.

Once you determine what would best highlight your organization, make sure you create a follow-up system for thank you calls that seek to gather information and offer deeper engagement as well as provide invitations to other programs and events in which your donor(s) might be interested.

Good luck in your well-planned, individualized cultivation process!