As I said earlier, information is available in the public domain through online records and there are a number of searchable databases that can be accessed on a subscription basis. However, there's only so much information that one can obtain online. And this is where volunteers can play such a key role in providing personal insights about the prospects financial circumstances. Now, let's turn to the first visit with a prospective donor, and the purpose of this first interaction is what we refer to as qualification. To qualify a new prospect as a donor, often the most challenging part of this process is getting the prospect to take the visit. So I'm going to give you some helpful advice on how to secure an appointment with a prospective donor. A personal referral from a volunteer or friend can be very helpful as a door opener. However, if this isn't the case and you don't have a contact who can open the door for you, you will need to resort to other means. What we often recommend is to send the individual a lead email to provide an introduction as this can be effective, followed by a phone call. This is a process that may require persistence, you may need to repeat this multiple times, sometimes many times to secure a meeting with a busy person. The development officer should introduce themselves as a representative of the institution, and try to convey information that will create commonality and a basis for dialogue. Here's an example of a lead email, "Dear Mr. Smith, I'm a member of the development team at UC Davis representing the College of Letters and Sciences, and my work involves outreach and communication with our alumni and friends. I'm writing at the suggestion of your friend or associate who is a member of our board here. There have been many exciting developments at your alma mater. I hope to have the opportunity to meet with you personally in the near future to learn about your experiences and career accomplishments, as well as to update you on our priorities and the achievements of our students and faculty. I'll be traveling in your area in the coming weeks and will contact you by phone to arrange a meeting at a time that is most convenient for you. Thank you for considering my meeting request." Something I'd encourage you to do on your own is to take a crack at drafting lead emails such as the one I just described to you, and you can run these by your colleagues and others in your organization to get feedback on how effective these may seem. But it's something that is a proven technique. So, let's assume that you have secured a visit with the prospect and you're going to now have the first visit. Here's where the interactions are meant to qualify their interest and assess their likelihood to give to your cause. This meeting is essentially an exchange of information, really almost an interview, with the development officer providing an update on the institution and gauging the prospects interest level based on their reaction to targeted points that are made. A key is being well prepared when you go into this meeting. For example, here's a triggering statement that you might make, "And we still have a high percentage of students enrolled at UC Davis who are the first in their family to attend college, and many are coming from financially disadvantaged circumstances, without scholarship support and other forms of financial aid, it would not be possible for such deserving students to stay in school." How the individual responds to such statements can give you a lot of information about their philanthropic inclination, as well as their readiness to give. Asking questions are key, and the development officer will ask probing questions to facilitate discussion and gain information about the prospects background and interest, including their ongoing relationship to the institution and their areas of affinity. Tell me about your time at UC Davis. What was the best part of your experience at the university? Do you still keep in touch with any of your classmates? What led you to the position you have now? Can you share some of the highlights of your career? What are the causes you support as a donor? Where does UC Davis rank among the causes you might support? If your prospect is already an annual fund donor, this is an excellent opportunity to thank them for their gift and ask about their interest in further support for the university. Depending on the tenor of this discussion, it is often possible to make an initial gift request even in a first meeting for a lower level annual gift. A positive response to such a request is a strong indication of subsequent major gift inclination. Assuming there is interest identified, and based on the response of the prospect, the qualification meeting ends with a next action step which is meant to continue the dialogue and build further engagement with the prospect. "Thank you for your time today Mr. Smith, I look forward to inviting you to campus in the near future to meet with our faculty and speak with our students." Now, let's turn to the next stage in the major gift process which is cultivation. Following the qualification visit and again assuming there is interest, the development officer creates a plan for the cultivation of the prospect. A cultivation plan involves a series of steps or purposeful moves, as we mentioned earlier, designed to engage the prospect more deeply with the institution, to educate them about our priorities, and provide more opportunity for dialogue to learn about their interests and values. I often refer to this as being similar to an independent study, an educational curriculum that's being custom designed for this particular individual to maximize their engagement with the institution. Inviting prospects to an endless series of hospitality functions, such as lunches or social receptions is not a cultivation plan. This is something we often see with less mature fundraising programs where inviting prospects to lunches and other social events is considered fund raising. This is really not the same as purposeful engagement in a cultivation plan. For an educational institution, key cultivations steps might include some of the following: interaction with faculty and students such as opportunities to speak in the classroom, campus tours to showcase targeted areas of interest and provide a unique insider perspective, substantive meetings with deans and other administrators to learn about their vision, invitations to serve on volunteer leadership councils and boards. Cultivation planning is where the art form of development comes into play. If research is really more of a science and the analytics involved, I would say that cultivation is more of the art form, and here's where the development officer really needs to think creatively about how to build the best strategy for the prospect to keep moving them towards a gift decision. Regular meaningful touch points are essential. Moving a prospect from qualification stage to a first major gift is a process that can be lengthy, this can often take 18 to 24 months or longer. A key aspect is bringing philanthropy into the conversation early on, highlighting priority areas where private support can help your program. As an exercise for you to do at home, I strongly recommend that you begin to create some draft cultivation plans for yourselves. I typically do these with quarterly moves and touch points. And again, you can share this information with colleagues and peers and begin to build plans that move your prospects and deepen their engagement with the institution. Now let's turn to solicitation, which is I think perhaps the misunderstood part of the major gifts process. When the timing is appropriate and the prospect is sufficiently well cultivated, the gift conversation can be initiated. Ideally, the prospect is never surprised by the ask.