Six Steps of Capital Campaign Solicitation
Soliciting prospects for capital campaign gifts is a process that requires proper education and training, and a plan. What amount will you ask for? Who will represent the organization during the solicitation?
In the book “Capital Campaigns from the Ground Up: How Nonprofits Can Have the Buildings of Their Dreams,” Stanley Weinstein notes that no two solicitation visits are alike. Some potential donors might know the organization and case for support well, while others will know very little about either. Some prospects will be people the representatives know, others will be strangers. Some will be supportive of the campaign, while others will object. Most, if not all will have questions. And while some will be able to decide in the moment if it is something they want to support, others will need time to think about it.
Below are the basic steps Weinstein suggests representatives follow to navigate through the capital campaign solicitation process.
1. Building rapport. This is the first stage of the solicitation process, in which you break the ice and establish a relationship with prospects. Look around at the things in their homes or offices for clues to what is most important to them. It could be photographs of family and friends, mementos that they have on display, etc. Ask an opening question that pertains to one of those clues and let them tell you about it. “Spend more time listening than talking,” Weinstein writes. “Don’t try to top the prospect’s story.”
2. Stating the case for support. When they’ve finished speaking, transition the conversation to discussion of the organization, what it has accomplished and its capital campaign goals. Refer to pre-prepared written materials such as a fact sheet. You should use your own words to talk about aspects of the capital campaign that excite and inspire you. When you speak from the heart about how the campaign will help those in the community that the organization serves, your sincerity will shine through to prospects.