5 Keys to Get in the Door With a Mega-Capacity Donor
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So you've identified your big kahuna potential prospect. What next? How do you get in the door?
Here are five quick tips to help you get that very first visit:
- Try to meet the prospect somehow at a social or civic event and introduce yourself.
- Find out where he or she has coffee in the morning, and "gently stalk him or her."
- Does the prospect belong to a certain club or organization, where you can manage to "run into" him or her?
- Does he attend the ballet, local theater, local ball games or his child's soccer games? Those are great places to manage to meet him.
- Get your board member to invite her to your gala or some other social occasion. It's always wonderful to have someone else open the door for you.
OK, now you have met the prospect. What next? How do you get her to agree to visit with you?
- Show up as an interesting, likeable person whom they would like to spend time with. Your appearance, cheerfulness and manners count more than you realize—they are all part of your donor's first impression of you.
- Tell her you want to ask her advice on something, or run an idea by her. It's critical to let her know that she gets to do the talking, not you. So the prospect is not being asked to sit there and listen to you "present" to her. Not at all.
Instead you are asking him to share his best thinking about your organization's current challenge ... and how you can best meet an important community need.
I can promise you that major donors like these kinds of conversations. They love figuring out challenges and problems. They like to help construct fundraising strategies-who would be interested in this, and who you need behind you if you want to succeed.
E Gail Perry Author's page Gail believes in parties first, rabble-rousing second, and having fun while changing the world. Gail Perry CFRE is an international fundraising coach, speaker, trainer and thought-leader. She is a leader in a new breed of fundraisers who are on the cutting edge of fundraising today. Her Fired-Up Fundraising approach, developed over the past 25 years as a nonprofit philanthropy expert, has helped organizations raise hundreds of millions in gifts. Gail's practical and refreshing approach to raising money in today's world is based on the very latest innovative fundraising strategies. An inspirational and popular speaker, she leads energizing fundraising workshops and board retreats around the globe. She particularly enjoys working with nonprofit board members, introducing them to a new perspective on fundraising and ways they can be successful at it. Gail's book, Fired-Up Fundraising, has been called the "gold standard guide to building successful fundraising boards." Gail got her start in fundraising at Duke University, and then went on to lead fundraising at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can read Gail's weekly blogs at FiredUpFundraising.com, and also find her provocative articles at FundraisingSuccess, Guidestar, and Capital Campaign Magic.