Mission-Focused TOURS Can Be Terrific Donor Cultivation Tools

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One of my favorite donor cultivation tools is a carefully-designed tour.

kids for peace 2

Photo courtesy for Kids for Peace, Durham NC

A Misson-Focused Tour can help you spread the word in your community — and build visibility and support for your mission.

A great tour is wonderful because it lets your organization’s work speak for itself.

Your tour is a show and tell – designed specifically for donors and potential donors to get to know you better.


I like tours because your guests get to hear directly from staff members or even clients/students/stakeholders.

Real people who actually work for the cause are expressing to donors,  in their own words, their personal first-hand experience of your organization.

It’s their personal stories of the good your nonprofit does in the community that are so powerful.

You can’t get much better than that!

I love tours!

I’ve set up a donor cultivation tour for every single capital campaign that I’ve led. And the tours have helped us identify new prospects. 

If tours are done effectively- they will provide enormous benefits to your nonprofit.

Why tours are such great donor cultivation tools:

Connect with New donors:

A well-laid out tour can help introduce new major donors to your cause. It’s one of my go-to donor cultivation tools.

Your tour is a format for inviting new people, sharing your mission with them, and opening the door for a deeper relationship.

It gives you a great reason to be in touch with new people.

Example: You may have a major gift prospect who has not been available for a meeting, but who WILL be interested to see your organization’s work first hand.  

Engage Your Current donors:

Your tour can help bring your current donors closer.

It’s a great format for helping your donors understand what’s really going on, and (as I like to say) you can rub their noses in your mission.

Tours for current donors help build donor loyalty, increase future gifts and raise donor retention. They help build a sustainable fundraising program. 

Example: Tours should be an important part of every nonprofit’s stewardship program. 

Find New Capital Campaign Prospects.

I’ve used tours for every single capital campaign that I’ve ever headed up.

Well-organized tours are a perfect format for inviting the major philanthropists and leaders of your community in to hear about your work.

Tours can help you get in front of potential mega donors, especially if the right person does the inviting.

Example: Try systematically conducting tours early in the campaign. You’ll have a wonderful tool for bringing new major gift prospects into the fold. 

Engage Your Board in Fundraising:

Your board members are probably scared of fundraising and unsure how to help. They don’t want to “hit up” their friends.

So the tour offers an easy format for board members get involved. They can open the door, and invite their friends and people from their networks.

Your board members’ friends who come on the tours can self-identify whether they are interested in your organization’s work.

So your board members are not twisting anyone’s arm – instead, they are just issuing a broad invitation. People who are interested will attend, and people who are not interested will not respond to the invitation.

Example: Ask each board member to be the official “host” of a particular tour on a certain date. That’s when they can and should invite their own contacts. 

Introduce Your Program Staff to Donors:

Tours showcase your hard-working program staff – and they deserve the recognition!

Your tour helps important internal staffers view fundraising from a completely different angle- because they are meeting donors personally.

The tour allows them to actually participate in the fundraising process in a way that makes them completely comfortable.

Example: During a tour, one of your top program directors can share examples of what they see in the field, and and how it feels to do your work. This is something you can never do.

Show Off Your Boss:

Here’s a chance for your CEO to shine.

Your CEO gets to share a leadership vision of where your organization is heading and what it hopes to do for your community.

You give your chief executive visibility in front of important donors and civic leaders.

Example: It’s a great time to work with your CEO on a “visionary leader” speech. This is where you CEO should live – in the place of vision and possibility for your organization’s work. 

Bottom Line: Tours are One of Your Best Donor Cultivation Tools!

Tours are a fabulous way to make new friends for the cause, connect more deeply with current donors – and spread the word about your mission.

Just be sure they are well-crafted and that you follow-up!


If you’d like more help constructing an amazing donor engagement experience with a tour, join my brand new webinar on this topic for the INSIDERS on July 21 at 2pm.

How to Stage a Mission-Focused TOUR that Touches a Donor’s Heart

I’ve organized countless tours for my consulting clients – and they’ve all turned into amazing donor engagement experiences. I’m pleased to share my secrets with you!

You can find out more about my webinar here. And you can get your own INSIDERS subscription to all my trainings here. Do join us during our membership promotion while prices are the lowest of the year!