6 Tips to Engage High Net Worth Individuals in a Changing World
On September 30th, the government’s fiscal year ends. Between now and then, Congress must navigate a minefield of national priorities ranging from healthcare to national security.
Initial iterations of the proposed federal budget have raised questions amongst nonprofits and civic organizations across the country. Proposed cuts to welfare programs and legal aid are sparking concern among nonprofit leaders who fear that decreased government revenue will undermine their ability to impact their communities. These cuts, combined with changes in the federal tax code, will present significant challenges to mission-driven organizations in 2018 and beyond.
However, while legislators continue to debate the financial future of the country, nonprofits can plan for all outcomes by working to secure the support of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
Strategically evaluating your outreach to this constituency may help to alleviate some of the uncertainty stemming from a fluctuating federal budget. Here are 6 practical tips to get you started:
Communicate the impact that federal policies are expected to have on your organization.
Be open and transparent about the risk that potential budget cuts pose, and clearly articulate how such cuts impact your organization’s ability to deliver against its mission. Programmatic funding gaps may spark a more powerful sense of urgency to HNWIs connected to your organization. Indeed, bringing HNWI donors together to sustain an organization in such a critical time may energize the donor base.
Assess your ability to cultivate, solicit and steward HNWIs now, not later.
Regardless of how the federal budget progresses, engaging HNWI individuals should not wait. Building relationships with HNWIs takes time and there is no better time to start than the present. Achieving impact will always require funding so waiting until budgetary crises strike is not a sustainable strategy for HNWI cultivation. Begin by asking yourself serious questions about your relationship with your donors. How often do you communicate with them? Do you regularly invite them to your office to see your work? How involved is your senior leadership in engaging with HNWIs? Be honest with yourself when answering these questions and take active steps to address any challenges that emerge. Recognize that creating enduring and sustainable relationships can take months or even years.
Know your audience.
Each HNWI has a unique way of coming to and connecting with your organization. They might admire the cutting-edge approach your organization uses to impact a community or value the breadth of your organization’s vision. Make sure you understand the nuances of these relationships. Take the time to conduct research on each individual and get to know them on an individual basis so you can better tailor your proposals to their expectations and interests. Always remember that donors are motivated to give by different factors.
Involve your senior leadership.
Make sure that your senior leadership, including your top executives and board members, are personally engaging, and if possible, meeting with your HNWI supporters to show them that their commitment to your organization is taken seriously and appreciated.
Nurture your relationship with HNWIs after a gift has been made.
Sending a thank you card after a donation has been made by a HNWI is necessary, but not enough to cultivate a long-term relationship. HNWIs want to know how their donations are helping your organization. Ensure that you consistently and clearly articulate how the HNWI’s gift has made an impact by showcasing your organization’s work or sharing testimonials. Consider inviting HNWIs to attend programs your nonprofit organizes.
Develop a HNWI social media engagement strategy.
Telling stories online and social media using, for example, blogs, short videos, or Facebook, can amplify the voices of those who benefit from your services and magnify awareness of your nonprofit’s work. Think about the social and digital media sources that HNWIs interested in your organization are likely to pay attention to and target your communications in these media.
These practical approaches will help sustain and build your relationships with HNWIs and safeguard your organization against fluctuations in funding due to political uncertainty.