The Only 6 Things You Need to Take/Leave When Making the Ask
Major-gift officers often ask Richard and me what they need to bring with them when they solicit a donor. Many of these MGOs have crazy ideas that they have to bring elaborate and expensive pieces with them to "make the sell." Videos, highly designed 20-page proposals, expensive gifts … we've seen it all.
Let me tell you. You don't need all that. I will give you a list of what you really need that will reiterate the points you made in your meeting and remind your prospect why your organization and specific project is worthy of his support.
The first thing to remember is any collateral material you bring with you cannot make the sell to the donor. I don't care if it's a 45-slide PowerPoint with emotional music playing in the background. If you are in a face-to-face meeting with a donor to discuss a gift you, should already be 90 percent there to a yes.
Meaning, all the work you have done prior to that meeting (stewarding his last gift, sending him "You made a difference" updates, cultivating him by letting him understand you know him) has all been done.
Secondly, the work you have done preparing the next ask for this donor (discussing her passion, presenting new options of projects and programs to invest in, getting a good idea on how much she would like to invest to match that to a specific project) has been done.
OK, I'm getting to that list, but you see my point, right? Collateral materials are not going to get you a gift. They should only be used as a guide during your discussion but mainly as a "leave behind" that reinforces what you have already covered in your meeting. If you rely on materials to sell your program or project, it's a weak presentation. It's about the quality of the project, the work you have done to prepare for the meeting and your presentation that show the donor you have listened.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.