Q: I am contacting you to see if there is a suggested agenda for the “CEO Golden Hours” event you have mentioned in your materials. We would like to learn more about this event and how you recommend integrating it into the overall model.
Tina in Tennessee
A: The purpose of the CEO Golden Hour is to use your busy CEO or executive director's time wisely to connect personally with the donors in your Multiple-Year Giving Society. If your busy CEO can carve out just one hour a week for donor cultivation, you can maximize that time to reach as many donors with quality contacts as possible.
Donor cultivation is an essential piece of the Benevon Model. If you have already been through your first year of the model, you have launched your Multiple-Year Giving Society, where donors have pledged to give at least $1,000 for five years. The value of the five-year commitment is not simply financial—it's an opportunity to build and deepen your relationship with those donors over the course of their pledge.
We say that it takes a minimum of two personal cultivation contacts annually to do this, and that one of these contacts should be from your CEO or executive director.
While there are three options for how to use that hour, including scheduled one-on-one donor meetings or phone calls to donors, the most popular use of the CEO Golden Hour is the small group meeting with five to seven donors, the CEO, and a board member.
The development director calls each donor to personally invite them to attend a casual yet intimate box-lunch event where the CEO shares key updates with a group of five to seven multi-year donors. The program begins with brief introductions, followed by the CEO giving a few updates on things she is most excited about, as well as a few challenges. She shares the next big vision/dream for the organization, allowing plenty of time for dialogue amongst the group of donors.
Some groups organize this event around a meal, others simply provide coffee and light refreshments.
Many of the CEOs we work with host these right in their office, although you may want to consider what will be most convenient for your donors, time-wise and location-wise.
After the event, be sure you have a plan for following up with donors who were there, including taking any next steps around ideas they shared or questions they asked at the meeting.