Six Steps of Capital Campaign Solicitation
3. Encouraging involvement. Ask open-ended questions that get prospects to validate the case for support in their own words. For example, when soliciting funds for a youth facility, ask prospects if they think it’s a good idea to invest more in positive programs for young people. If soliciting alumni for funds for an educational institution, you can ask what the institution meant to them when they attended it. Ask the question and then listen to what prospects say. Listen with the intent of understanding, not in anticipation of what you’ll say next. At this point, you might need to answer questions and address concerns. Be prepared to field these by providing accurate information. If a prospect has no objections or major concerns, you can skip Step Four and move on to Step Five.
4. Handling objections. When prospects have objections or concerns, avoid a “yes … but” response, Weinstein writes. Instead, use “yes … and” phrases. There will be some objections that representatives are unprepared for. In these situations, he suggests using what he calls “Weinstein’s bottom-line” reply. First, admit you’ve never heard that objection before and that it sounds serious. Say you will look into the issue and discuss the concern with organization leaders. Assure the prospect that organization leaders are doing their best to strengthen the organization, and that you encounter many people who believe in the organization’s “bottom line,” what Weinstein says is “the institution’s strongest and shortest rationale for support.” In conclusion, point to the bottom line to show that the organization will work to remedy the issue and become stronger, adding that to do so it needs support for projects, such as its capital campaign.
“By returning the conversation to the organization’s strongest points, fundraisers can often overcome objections. Moreover, prospects who feel they were heard and understood frequently become the organization’s strongest supporters,” Weinstein notes.