I had the opportunity to partake in a proposal for a donor acquisition campaign for a medical association recently. It was for a capital campaign and although I had never directly worked for this organization, or even for the main contact before, he and I had met several times and had built a good rapport over time. He had invited me to talk through the campaign concept and preliminary fundraising efforts, and now that it was ready to go “public,” they were looking at options at how best to promote and solicit donations from their general membership.
Without getting into too much detail here, I had put together what I felt was a comprehensive proposal that offered some good ideas beyond just the average and included several samples of other campaigns that we had worked on previously. The day came that I presented our proposal and I was able to share everything and explain what I felt could be expected. Everything went well, and we agreed to talk further as any questions came up. Over the next couple of weeks we did in fact touch base a couple of times, but then ultimately I awaited his decision and found out that we were not chosen as the company to work on the campaign for them.
This however, is what I found interesting about the experience! Not only did I receive a phone call from my contact, but he also followed up with an e-mail thanking me for my participation and included a graded summary of the 3 vendors that had participated within the process – including the company names and contacts. I was able to see by category where I had done well, and where I had come in below the competition – or had tied. It was very interesting to actually get some professional feedback on my presentation and proposal from a client – I would have to say that this is the first time in 33 years that this was given to me without asking!
Needless to say I was impressed and of course one of the first things I did was to do some research into who actually did receive the business. Both from the company standpoint and the individual. I went online to review their website and also went to LinkedIn to look up the individual – in fact, I even reached out and asked to connect with him! Guess what his response was as he accepted… “Rick: It is rare that I get a message like yours from a competitor. Thanks for the professional LinkedIn message.”
So all in all, I may well have lost out on this proposal, but I did get to learn from the experience, and I believe hold onto 2 good connections for the future!