Focus On: Major Gifts: Take A Lesson from the Old School
On days when it takes that much more effort to step up to the task at hand, they remember that what they do will mean that many more wishes granted for sick children, scholarships for struggling youths, and dollars to fight hunger and disease.
Taking the test
When it comes down to it, you’d be surprised how many gifts have been left on the table because leaders were afraid to ask for them. They procrastinate in making calls and in setting appointments, and when they finally get to the solicitation, they don’t put a specific gift amount on the table. The most successful fundraisers are those who continually review priority prospects and requests under consideration, and diligently pick up the phone and call each of them to set up or follow up on a visit. If they don’t have an opportunity to see the donor, they make one — and they don’t wait for the prospect to read their minds. You know the famous quote about missing 100 percent of the shots you never take: You have to ask.
And if you fail, try again
In fundraising, “no” often is the first step to “yes,” and when you’re turned down for a major gift, it’s important to rededicate your efforts and find out how that donor could be turned around. It might have been a long-ago slight — perhaps under a previous administration — and you could have the perfect opportunity to make amends. Or the donor might have personal reasons why he can’t make a gift of the size or in the form that you seek. If that gift or pledge can be structured in a way that suits the needs of the donor and his family, you might find that you ace the next try.
Patience; a belief in the cause; the willingness to endure boredom and discomfort; and even the possibility of rejection are all part of the equation. Those who believe they have found the single best way to change the world for the better, who have the discipline to be positive and to persist, whether through tried-and-true strategies or the courage to be creative, will come through with flying colors.