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Strategic Fund Development: Building Profitable Relationships That Last, Third Edition by Simone P. Joyaux

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Building Relationships through Cultivation

Of course, effective communications helps cultivate relationships. Together, cultivation and communications nurture relationships, producing loyalty.

But when I say “cultivation,” I mean actions that engage the constituent/donor/prospect. Actions that engage people beyond reading your vastly improved communications.

My go-to-source, www.visualthesaurus.com, defines cultivation as: the process of fostering the growth of something. The morphing diagram includes words like: development, growing and growth, maturation. Now apply some of the definitions for growing plants: the process of an organism growing organically; an unfolding of events that enables an organism to gradually change from a simple to a more complex level. That’s right on target for cultivating relationships.

More simply stated, the AFP Fundraising Dictionary says “to engage and maintain the interest and involvement of.” A good, traditional definition for fundraisers; but not as interesting or as motivating as the words from www.visualthesaurus.com.

You develop and improve a relationship by getting to know your constituents and using selective cultivation techniques. You pay attention to, seek acquaintance with, and court friendship. This means a friendship with your organization, not a personal relationship with an individual.

Cultivation helps move people from interest to engagement. Engagement is a mutual state, shared between the organization and its constituent. When ...

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