Major and Planned Giving: Face to face wins the race
When you have the appointment, you can risk seeming overly friendly, but you cannot risk appearing frightened or aloof.
Then, make each contact an interview designed to a specific purpose rather than just a friendly call. All meetings must have an objective. What do you need to know about this prospect to lead her to become a donor? Prepare a checklist.
After brief small talk about common interests, get down to business. Develop an interview technique to achieve your objectives. Watch professionals on television (such as Larry King) to learn how to refine your techniques. Frame several key questions to establish your course, such as:
1. “What are some of your best memories with our organization?”
2. “If money was not the issue, what should/could we be doing that we are not currently doing?”
3. “What, in your opinion, are some of our programs that are so important they should always be considered ‘permanent’? Why?”
4. “On a scale of one to ten, where would our organization fall in your list of philanthropic priorities?”
If these questions don’t work in your situation, find something to put forward for the donor to consider, such as:
1. “When would be a good time for us to talk about a significant gift for our college of leadership?”
2. “Bill, here is something I’d like you and Mary to consider: We are developing a college of leadership, and I’d like you to think about being a lead donor for this project.”
After those kinds of questions, veteran gift-planning consultant Harvey DeVries has taught me to ask, “Bill and Mary, here is a wonderful way for you to multiply yourselves and your values in the lives of the people we serve. Would you be willing to consider a gift in the range of $_____ in order to __________ (gift opportunity) if we can show you how?” (Who could say no to that?)