1 - INFORM THEM - Professionals can't help you if they don't know what you do or who you are. And remember, there are lots of good charities, so you need to be sure they know you. The best way is to provide them a Professional Advisers Notebook that includes the important information about you. Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, tax exemption letter from the IRS and several copies of your literature. A three ring binder with your name on the spine is a good idea so it lives on a nearby bookshelf to help keep your organization in their mind when talking with their clients. If you want a list of the table of contents for a professional advisers manual, click here.
2 - ENGAGE THEM - When you get an inquiry or a referral from a professional, be sure to keep them engaged in the work you are doing with their client. Remember, these folks are your partners, not your competitors. Let them know that you met with the people. Tell them what you learned and how interested they are in your organization. Be sure to thank them regularly. You can communicate with them easily with a quick email, phone call or note. You are both trying to help the people, so work together as a team. It will pay handsome rewards with future referrals.
3 - RECOGNIZE THEM - We all publicly recognize our donors in some way. How many of you recognize the professionals who send you referrals? Very few, from what I see. How about a place in your annual report or newsletter that highlights those professionals who have worked with you this month or this year? A story about how the team of professional adviser and charity representative helped a donor achieve her goals is a compelling way to get your message out to multiple audiences. And a Professional Advisers committee could work with you on new trends, laws and strategies to serve your mutual clients. And of course, thank them often!
Working with professional advisers is long term work. But from this group will probably come your largest gifts. Get acquainted with them and keep communicating with them in some form. Your success will be greatly enhanced.
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