When you speak with your donors, be warm and sincere, and truly interested in them. They’ll feel more comfortable with you, and the relationship will develop naturally. People can tell when you’re forcing a smile, so be genuine. After all, these are your donors you’re talking to — they are the people who make the work of your nonprofit organization possible! Here are some tips for great conversations for when you meet with donors.
Your donors don’t want to hear sales pitches. More importantly, they are usually not persuaded by sales pitches. If you deliver a sales pitch and walk away with a check, you have succeeded in spite of your pitch, not because of it. The odds that a preconceived sales pitch will be right for a given donor at a given moment are about one in a billion.
Whether it be daily customer service — donor or prospective donor attention, service at an event, a board or committee meeting, a staff meeting — what are you doing to create that wow factor of customer service?
I had a great conversation with a friend last week. He reminded me that as the field of fundraising professionalizes, we are all too quick to "systematize" our efforts, automate appeals, send obligatory thank-you receipts and write notes just so we can ask for another donation the next day. This is your friendly reminder to stop it.
For those of you who are fundraisers and nonprofit leaders involved in fundraising, I’m asking you for two things the next couple weeks … 1) Schedule some time with a supporter of your organization and 2) BE AUTHENTIC.
Here’s what “No” really means from your donor: I’m too busy — You haven’t prepared me for this conversation, or I’m not ready to make this level of commitment. I don’t trust you — You or your charity has not created a feeling of trust personally or organizationally. This isn’t on my list — Your project does not align with my values.
I am always a fan of personal, face-to-face solicitation utilizing a peer of the prospect if at all possible. Your goal is to build a relationship and obtain direct feedback to your approach and request.
Fundraising always comes down to asking, doesn’t it? “The Ask” is something we study, prep for, script, dream about, love and and sometimes avoid. Here are the six steps that will lead to a "yes" every time you ask: 1. Identify the right prospect to approach. 2. Get to know your prospective donor. 3. Make it a conversation. 4. Make your ask into an exciting opportunity. 5. After you ask, sit quietly and shut up. 6. An ask is not an ask without follow-up.
When we ask questions — and listen — we learn. If we ask the right questions of prospective donors, we build a stronger relationship and learn if indeed our cause, our project is a match. And when we ask questions, it also serves as an invitation for donors to ask questions of us — a real conversation. A dialogue.
Make a list of the 10 people you most need really to just reach out to. Then do it.
I’ve seen lots of people strike out when they finally get that coveted appointment with their major donor. Why? Because they bore their donor. Make sure you engage your donor while you are in her office! Here are my top ways to get the most out of a major-donor visit: 1. Always set objectives before you walk in the door. 2. Ask for advice. 3. Listen, listen, listen. 4. Show up as an interesting person and conversationalist. 5. Probe the interest in your cause. 6. Listen for the donor to say "we."