“If you want to milk a cow, sit by its side.” This is advice I learned years ago from the great major gifts fundraiser Jerold Panas. But… how do you get the cow to cooperate? Ay, there’s the rub.
Why is it so hard to set up a time for a visit with a prospect?
It just is. People screen their phone calls. They don’t answer your emails. They’re busy. And, let’s face it, they know what this is about. Some folks will avoid the ask because they’re thinking about it in terms of ‘money’ rather than ‘impact.’ Once you get in the room with them, you’ll be able to change this perspective. But… how to get there?
Acknowledge to yourself that the hardest part of fundraising is getting the visit. Once you know this you’ll be less frustrated. There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re having a hard time getting through to someone. Everyone does. Persevere. Try different channels until you find one that works (phone, email, text, snail mail, Facebook, etc.). We all have communication preferences.
7 Secrets to Success
1. Remember you’re not setting an appointment – you’re arranging a visit.
“Appointments” are no fun. Doctors, mechanics and dentists require appointments. “Visits” are fun. You’ll chat, nosh and have a lovely conversation. Yay!
2. Start the conversation by asking the person whether they have time for your call.
If you launch into trying to schedule a visit while your prospect has their attention on anything else, you risk failure. If the prospect says they only have 5 minutes, tell them you’ll take 4 and stick to it.
3. Tell the prospect why they’re being called.
Begin by reminding them they are important to you. They’re a longtime supporter,,, community leader… someone with an ear to the ground… someone who can offer advice on a new idea you’ve got… Acknowledge what they’ve done right (volunteering, giving, acting as an ambassador). Show them how much they’re valued. People will do what they’ve done before (they already went through the decision process); you’re simply encouraging them to continue… and perhaps to do so even more passionately.
4. Be clear about your intention to talk about philanthropy.
No one likes to be tricked. Explain why you want to see them — to get their feedback/advice about