This is a Nonprofit Power Week interview with Tony Beall, the Senior Director of the National University Academies Relationship Center. The topic of discussion is the Cause Selling Cycle for nonprofit fundraising. The conversation focuses on Phase 2 of the cycle, specifically Steps 3 and 4. The Cause Selling Cycle is a three-phase, eight-step process that begins with prospecting and concludes with stewarding donor relationships.
The hosts and Tony emphasize the importance of formalizing the fundraising process and tracking progress through the cycle. They discuss the significance of making a good first impression during the approach phase and highlight different approaches that can be used depending on the donor’s interests and preferences. They also stress the need for cultivation and stewardship during events, where board members and volunteers can play a role in engaging potential donors.

The interview moves on to Step 3, which focuses on approaching prospective donors. Tony explains that the approach is about capturing the interest of prospects and making a positive impression. He emphasizes the need to personalize the approach based on what has been learned about the donor’s passions and interests.

The conversation then shifts to Step 4, the needs discovery phase, which is considered the “heart of the Cause Selling Cycle”. This step involves active listening and understanding the donor‘s readiness to commit, their passions, and aligning their ethics with the organization’s. Tony highlights the importance of questioning techniques and listening skills during this phase to gather critical information about the donor.

Next, Step 5 is discussed—the presentation phase. The hosts and Tony explain that this step involves preparing and delivering a presentation tailored to the donor’s interests and preferences. They emphasize the power of personalization and creativity in creating meaningful experiences for potential donors. Props and visual aids can be used to make the presentation more engaging and memorable.

Throughout the conversation, Tony emphasizes the need for fundraisers to trust their instincts and make decisions based on the relationship’s dynamics and compatibility. He also mentions the importance of capturing information from each step of the cycle and using it to inform future interactions with donors.

The interview concludes with a reminder to explore the free online portal provided by Fundraising Academy, where the curriculum and additional resources can be accessed for a deeper understanding of the Cause Selling Cycle.