Steps in the Solicitation Process,
adapted from Ensure the Future by Lorne S. Miller

All fundraising professionals know successful fundraising comes down to "the ask." There will always be people who give of their own free will, as we learn from in Parashat Terumah, where Moses asked the people to bring their most precious possessions according to whose heart so moves him. Eventually, our most famous fundraiser, Moses, told his constituents to stop bringing gifts because they accumulated too much. This scenario is not likely in the economic climate in which we live today. Most people need to be asked in order to give money to the synagogue and Jewish institution. Below is a guide to the steps in the solicitation process. However, these steps are not Torah mi'Sinai. Everyone has to create her or her own strategy for making "the ask."

1. The leadership team and professional staff identify prospective donors' names. This list of names should include donors, past and present as well as others who give to similar causes in the community.

2. The leadership team should conduct research into potential donors, including their relationship to the synagogue or institution. This should include a donation history, special interests and other relevant information.

3. Discuss who is the most appropriate solicitor, the best cultivation strategy for the solicitor, timing considerations, potential gift level, and potential recognition options. This should take place before the first meeting with the donor.

The most appropriate solicitor should be determined by relationship with the donor, for example, the rabbi who officiated at the donor's daughter's wedding. The ideal solicitor could also be a peer of the potential donor who has already given toward the campaign. That way the solicitor would be able to ask the potential donor to join them in this effort.

4. The leadership team assigns one or more solicitors to specific potential donors.

5. The first face-to-face meeting should be scheduled.

6. The first meeting should be an information session, describing the work that will be done with the raised funds. This information session goes both ways during this first meeting. The solicitors also find out what issues the potential donor has with the project. Direct solicitation is not usually done during this first meeting.

7. If the solicitation is not made during the first meeting then a second meeting is scheduled.

8. If the solicitation is successful, the solicitor sends a pledge card. The leadership team or development person then gives details of the dedication and other relevant issues.

9. Within one week, a member of the development team should send a thank-you confirming the pledge amount, terms and dedication.

10. The president of the congregation and/or rabbi should send a personal thank-you letter also confirming the pledge amount, terms and dedication.

(Developed by, Lisa Delson: HUC-JIR Cincinnati)