Nine Tips for Major-Gift Solicitors
3. Personalize the solicitation
Major gift solicitations should not be conducted over the phone. Large gifts often are not closed with one visit. Family members, financial advisors and/or business partners might need to be involved prior to a decision. Obviously, if you know who the key decision-makers are (if they are not your prospect), they should be included in the solicitation meeting. A major part of the success of a solicitation is the chemistry of the relationship between the solicitor(s) and prospect, as well as how one is asked. If at all possible, at least two solicitors should participate in the solicitation. It demonstrates to the prospects the importance you have put on their gift, it shows that there are others equally committed to the success of the campaign, and it allows different perspectives to be heard. The old saying that two heads are better than one also applies to solicitations. While one person is answering questions or explaining the need, the other person can better observe responses, body language, etc. Evaluating the solicitation and together determining best approaches for follow-up are enhanced with multiple solicitors.
4. The appointment
The most critical aspect of major-gift solicitations is getting the appointment. Be enthusiastic, and let the prospects know that you want to share with them some exciting information about the organization, which is a project near and dear to you, and that you would like to solicit their advice and support. Make sure that you make the appointment at a time and place that is convenient for both the prospects and solicitors. Also, try to schedule at least 30 to 45 minutes for the initial meeting.
Try to avoid an environment where others might overhear conversation or where there will be distractions. If a prospect asks if you are looking for money from him, be candid and enthusiastic: