Have you ever returned to your old neighborhood to check out the changes which have occurred over the years? This was part of my personal reboot time recently. 5 years later—I returned to the land of crabcakes, sailboats, Navy cadets and the Chesapeake Bay. If the trees could talk.

Memories of an influential baseball coach whose life ended in a tragic car crash as Jim Croce’s “Time in the Bottle” weaved through my mind. Defining moments with a fierce opponent outside the building of my first boxing match. And remembering the sheer joy of college competition when passing Navy Stadium. Priceless memories which inform today’s pressing issues.

You don’t necessarily have to return to old stomping grounds after decades to illicit valuable memories. For instance, in sessions with the leadership team of a growing Christian radio station, persistent questions about key relationships yielded fresh insights about potential major donors long forgotten. What a breakthrough!

Think about your organization. When is the last time you gathered your staff to focus on memories of potential major donors? Don’t rush through this experience. Consider this—review your organization’s history by looking through old files, identify the names of previous large contributors and research their children and grandchildren. This practice yielded a number of new 4 and 5 figure new major partners during a recent gathering! Review the published sponsor lists from organizations with similar values. Brainstorm answers to these questions:

  • What is their current relationship with our staff, board or volunteers?
  • Is there a specific project that would especially spark their interest?
  • Do you know someone close to the prospect who can make an introduction?
  • What information on current projects can we prepare to motivate potential prospects to take a fresh look at our cause?
  • In what ways can we offer opportunities for prospects to experience the impact of our outreach in the coming weeks?

Leading you staff through a memory bank of resources and relationships can yield the gold nuggets of relationships temporarily forgotten. It’s a fun experience and can be used to meet your expansion goals this year!