And what does it have to do with associations?
The donor funnel is another way of thinking about the ladder of engagement, which are both about forming and nurturing relationships with your prospects.
John Haydon recently posted a terrific short presentation (with accompanying blog post) on the donor funnel:
The Capture –> Nurture –> Convert –> Partner path he outlines works equally well for associations as for fundraising organizations.
(I have written about this recently, but I think it’s a critical concept few associations really understand or use properly, hence the remix.)
Capturing is focused on the ways prospects come to you. Do you know how people find you? To you provide opportunities for them to find you? Does your association make it easy for people who are interested in what you can offer them to self-identify?
Nurturing is about paying attention to what those prospects do with you and ask from you so you can start to know them as individuals, learning about their needs, wants, goals, aspirations, and dreams. Only then can you hope to meet some of those.
Conversion takes place when the relationship has deepened to the point that you both know that this is the right one and are willing to commit time or money or both.
Partnership is the ultimate goal – a long term, committed, mutual relationship that benefits you both.
Haydon also provides ideas on how to “pull” people through from one stage to the next, all in 12 short slides. If you’re really pressed for time, skip straight to slide 11, but then spend a little time with it, internalizing the lessons it holds.