Qualifying major gift prospects is a lot like fishing…

I’m not a big fisherman, but I know enough to get by.

Here’s why I think fishing and qualifying major donor suspects is similar…

When you’re out in the boat with your line in the water you could go for hours without getting even a bite.  But when you finally do get that bite, everything changes.  Your heart begins to race.  You get a lump in your throat, and your palms might even start to sweat.  I’ve got one!, you exclaim.

As you reel your line in and hoist that fish into your boat, you’re left with a question:

Do I keep it or throw it back?

If your catch is big enough you keep it.  If not, you throw it back so it can continue to grow and mature — maybe it will be ready for you next year.

Qualifying major donor suspects is very similar.  As you make your qualification calls and visits you’re constantly measuring the people you come in contact with.  Are they sizable enough for you to keep (i.e., move to the cultivation phase)?   Or do they need to grow before they’re ready for you to hold onto (and therefore need to be “released” back into the wild — or your annual giving program)?

I like to call this a major gift catch-and-release strategy.

Happy fishing!


Photo courtesy of: Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Qualifying major gift prospects is a lot like fishing…

  1. Hi Andrew
    I thought your scenario was very interesting and created food for thought.
    Thank you for the post I enjoyed reading it.