In this webinar, Marcy Heim, CSP, CFRE, PLCC will show you the best mindset and actions that make this first visit the first step in creating a lifelong giving partnership.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Marcy, my watch just struck 1 o’clock. Is it okay if we go ahead and get this party started?
Marcy: Lead ahead, captain.
Steven: All right, awesome. Well, welcome, everyone. Good afternoon if you’re on the East Coast. Good morning if you’re on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “Face to Face with a Donor Prospect For the Very First Time.” And my name is Steven Shattuck and I am the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always,
Just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here. Just want to let you all know that we are recording this presentation. So if you have to leave early or maybe you get pulled away by a coworker or something like that, don’t worry, we’d hate to lose you, but if you do have to leave early, we’re going to get you that recording. So don’t feel too bad about it, and if you stay for the whole thing, we’ll also get you the recording if you want to [relisten 00:00:55] that content or share it with a friend. We’ll get you that. We’ll get you the slides. You’ll be in good shape this afternoon for sure.
Most importantly, we love these webinars to be interactive. Please send us your questions and comments via the chat box there right on your screen. We’re going to try to save a little bit of time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. I’ll be keeping an eye on those throughout the hour. So I’ll check the Twitter feed as well, if you want to send us a Tweet there.
And if you have any audio issues, audio by the computer sometimes we find is not as good as audio by phone. So rather than giving up on us, try dialing in by phone if you have any trouble. There is a phone number that you can dial that went out in the ReadyTalk email about an hour or so ago. So try that if you have any technical difficulties through your computer.
And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to all of you first timers. We do these webinars every single Thursday throughout the year. We only miss about a couple Thursdays throughout the year. We do 48 to 50 sessions. We love it. We bring on great guests like today’s guest is no exception, of course. But if you don’t know about Bloomerang the software, we are provider of donor management software.
So if you are in the market for that, or maybe just curious about our offering, check out our website. You can watch a video demo, it’s a nice recorded demonstration of the product, don’t even have to talk anybody, don’t worry about it if you don’t want to. So check that out in an hour, don’t do that now because you all are in for a real treat. We have someone that I feel bad has not been on the webinar series in so long and I’m remedying that today. We’ve got Marcy Heim joining us. Marcy, we’ve been talking about this since July. And I’m so happy that it’s finally happening. Thanks for being here. How are you doing?
Marcy: I’m fabulous. Thank you, Steven.
Steven: You are, you are fabulous.
Marcy: Somebody chatted in that they were in gloomy rainy weather. Melissa did, and I’m feeling like I’m being naughty. I’m in sunny Florida and the sunshine is pouring into my face here. And it’s beautiful.
Steven: Yeah, I think you’re in the minority for weather, because here in Indiana, it is gray, and we’re going to get a blizzard on Saturday. I think like half the country is. So this is a bright spot in my week for sure, and I think it will be for the rest of you.
Before I hand it over Marcy, I just want to brag on her real quick. If you guys don’t know Marcy, got to check her out. If you see her at a conference, on a schedule, go to her session, please, she’s a great speaker. She’s a proven Major Gift Expert. I’ll talk a little bit about that in a second. Does a lot of life and leadership coaching as well, has written books. She’s working on a book now. Check out her stuff for sure. She has a certification, she has a certified speaking professional designation, which not a lot of people have. Only about 7% of speakers worldwide hold that credential. She’s also a CFRE. She also has her professional leadership coaching certification.
So definitely qualified to talk about all the things she’s going to talk about today. And has also raised a lot of money. She worked at the University Wisconsin Foundation for over 23 years managing their major gifts team, and she raised $1.8 billion, billion with a b. Is that right Marcy? That’s not a typo, billion with a b, that’s not a million or anything?
Marcy: Billion with a . . . Billion with b, and honestly the campaign going on after that was three times that size, so big numbers.
Steven: She’s good at what she does, she has made those big ask personally herself. She’s trained other people to do the ask, and has gotten a lot of accolades for that. She was the recipient of the CASE Crystal Apple Award. She was named outstanding fundraiser by AFP. She’s an AFP Master Teacher. She does the CFRE certification instructions. So if you’re doing that in San Antonio in a couple of months at AFP, she’s going to be your instructor.
So I could go on and on. I didn’t even read everything that she sent me, all the great things she’s done because I want to hear about her advice. So Marcy, I’m going to hand it over to you to tell us all about that first face-to-face ask, take it away, my friend.
Marcy: Steven, thank you. And before I jump into this, so I just want to give a shout out to you and all my friends at Bloomerang. I was with Jay at the AFP Conference in 2012 when he first launched Bloomerang. And it is an incredible tool and several of my clients are on it now.
I’m just going to share a story if you’ll allow me a little bit of time to do that. One of mine, the Lussier Community Education Center in Madison, Wisconsin, switched to Bloomerang last year, and they have just been so successful with the product combined with the work that I’m doing with them to increase their major gifts. And ended up with just a phenomenal year. They had a big challenge grant and they were hacking away at that $100 and $500 a time, my goodness gracious. And between your software and the coaching, they just really had an outstanding year.
I love your product is easy to use. And I just want you all to know I don’t get any kind of kickbacks or anything for this. I just talk to my clients and I say try these things. And the Bloomerang product is good. And you know, I’m a big fan of you and Jay and everybody there. And all of the great content and material you put out to help people be better at their job.
We are in an honorable and noble profession, and we have to consider that and always be lifting ourselves and each other up. And I see several of you that I know so well on the call with me today. So you know what comes next. Wherever you are, stand up, wiggle the middle and say after me, “Something good is going to happen to me.” One, two, three, “Something good is going to happen to me,” and I know you did it.
And truly that is. And why is it so important for us to do this? Because it sets an intention, something good is going to happen out of this next hour that we get to spend together. Something good for you, something good for philanthropy, something good for your missions, something good for each other by being in the space and place together.
And it’s important that we write these things, that we speak these things, that we really use that incredible mind that we have. So you know me I’m always going to start out by setting an intention. Steven already talked all about me, but I do want to share this, I am very excited. This is the year I’m launching my new book and it’s called “Invest in Joy: Unleashing a Lifestyle Of Generosity.” And that’s going to happen in Texas in May. You’ll be hearing more about it, but I can’t wait. It’ll be a lot of fun.
So, face to face for the first time. I still think making an ask tops everything in the things that gets people palms sweaty, and gets them ringing their fists, and bringing up fear and that kind of stuff for them. But probably pretty close after that is this first time that you’re going to see somebody in person, or face to face. And I purposely used the words face to face because that does tell you what this is about, it’s live and in person. When a lot of what we’ve been doing with them has been through letters, or phone, or email, or Facebook, or something that while it can still be personal, it’s not in person a very different thing.
So I want to cover a few things today. This is really kind of a light fun program. When do we get face to face? How do we get face to face? How do we get that appointment? And then I just have a fun little list of do’s and don’ts for that actual first visit. As Steven said, chat in if there’s something that I’ve missed. I hope a lot of this content, you’ll say, yep, doing that, yep, get that. Yep. I hope that this is reinforcing some things that you already do wonderfully.
I’m all about how we think, I’m all about the mindset we bring with us. One of the things that you have to accept is that each and every day as you do your work, you have to bring yourself with you. Yep, you can’t leave you at home and bring someone else. No, it’s you. And so how you show up, what you bring to each and every day is what’s there. And part of how we set up, how we approach life and walk through life, it’s what we’re thinking about.
I’ve even taken some words I’m sure you know them, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship. They are not bad words. But I wouldn’t have been in this business so joyfully for more than 30 years kind of thinking about soliciting. I’d rather make an artful ask. And we cultivate a lot of corn in Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, soybeans, but I want to create that joyful giver. And yes, I think it’s wonderful to provide stewardship, but I want to be that grateful recipient because I think the words we use are so important.
So this is my cycle of successful relationships. And I know you’ve all heard, it’s all about relationships. It’s all about relationships, in person, face to face, on Facebook, through a letter. It’s all about relationships and everything we do, everything we do has an impact on that relationship. Sometimes the one we intended and sometimes a different one. So let’s look at this cycle.
We have to begin somewhere. Well, we can talk about qualifying people, but what are we really doing? We’re looking for people who share our values and interests. If your kids are playing soccer, you’re going to probably hang out with a lot of other soccer parents. And they might very well become your friends, but you met, you got together because you shared that value and interest in soccer. And at some point in time, you have to . . . you could stand next to them the whole time and never talk to them at the game. But at some point in time, you reach over and say, “Oh, you’re Billy’s parents. Yeah. Hi, I’m David’s parent.” And you begin a conversation.
So today we’re really going to focus on this kind of first step. How do you find those? How do find those people who share your values and interest? And then how do you begin that conversation that moves you into creating that joyful giver? All the things we do to help those around us see if our organization and mission is a good fit for them. Did you hear what I just said? I didn’t say that’s when we get to tell people what we do. No, I said when we do things that let them see if we’re a good fit for them, it’s all about your prospective giver.
We engage them when we feel we have a strong sense of where their values and interests lie. We speak that artful ask. And they can say no, yes, or maybe. I think most of the time is [yeahbut 00:12:42], which is a Wisconsin word yeahbut. It’s actually yes, but which is maybe. We go back to creating that joyful giver. But oftentimes they will say, yes, when we ask something clearly, then we get to say thank you. If we show creativity in that, oftentimes they raise their hands and say, “I am having such a wonderful time being part of your organization. What else is going on here?” And we go around again. So that’s the cycle.
But today we’re focusing on beginning that conversation and having that first visit. All right, so let’s get into it. When is the time for a face to face? Well, I think, you know, most of these cues, you look at the people who are in your annual fund, they’re high end, they’re giving major gifts for your organization, whatever major is for you. Might be $$1,000, might be $500, might be $10,000. But those high end annual fund givers who so far you’ve not really sat down and explored what else might be possible for them. Or you might want to be upgrading a specific group of givers.
I had a Jewish client once and we were looking at all of their $3,000 and $4,000 donors, and we said what if we just focused with them and really had conversations with them this year, and encouraged all of them to go to $5,000. A small increase in some ways, but it’s probably . . . my mind says it was 73 people, no, I remember that number, but if they all upgraded that would be significant in making a difference for the organization. So it might be a specific group of givers or perhaps just everyone who gave to a certain project. Everyone who helped get the new MRI machine in the local in the clinic, and you’re going to work with them now to talk to them about investing in more equipment needs in general because they’ve indicated that’s important to them.
Or perhaps it’s your consistent annual fund smaller givers. And I know you’ve heard this, but I am always amazed at those folks who are giving you 20, 50 bucks a year, year after year, after year, after year, and we just don’t find them. We just don’t see them. And sometimes those are in your monthly givers too. We just don’t see that consistency. And we really don’t take the time to talk to them because they don’t go to those quote unquote triggers we have for when they’re a high end giver. Those consistent donors are so important to have a conversation with.
Then there’s a group that I call your new surprise givers. So suddenly a big gift comes in, you look, you don’t even have them in the database. Where did they come from, and why are they giving to you? Well, goodness gracious, of course you want to hop out there and say hey to them in person.
Prospective estate givers. Now today’s talk is not about how to identify them, but I think that some of those consistent annual fund smaller givers fall into this category. So they’re kind of in two spots. But also people who are a certain age you might pull, and have some visits setup strictly to talk about possibilities for establishing a legacy.
They might be brand new people. So they’re are folks that have given you some dollars and you want to see if this was just kind of a one-time thing, or if something happens that brought them into your circle. You know, as we go through life, we can sometimes put our donors into boxes and will say, “Oh, I know what their interests are. They’re interested in this, and this and this.” Well, yeah, maybe in the year 2019 that’s true.
But if something happened in their life, they have their first grandchild. They have a loss of a loved one to some kind of disease that might become important to them. They have a celebration, someone graduates and suddenly they’re empty nesters, and they’re looking at different ways to be involved. But as life happens with us, as we go through all of the wonderful things we experience in our lives, our interests change. So we’re exploring that potential fit now.
And users in their circles. So these are folks who if you’re an organization where they benefit from or use your services, and they’ve had success with you, then their circles and their friends might be folks that you want to get face to face with.
And go ahead and chat in if you can think of other ways, and I’ll check back with the chat. But other times that you are really feeling you should be face to face with somebody that I haven’t mentioned. And I’m going to move on to . . . as I talk about this, jump in if there are other times you think, “Marcy, this is when I really feel like I need to get face to face,” and I can add it to my list.
So how do we do it? You directly communicate with them and ask to visit. So here is something I find really interesting, and I’ve got her permission to share the story. Nancy is one of my VIP clients and she was phoning, phoning, phoning for visits and she said to me, “Marcy, I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand. These are people I know. These are people that I know, I have a relationship with already, and they’ve been donors for a long time, and I just can’t get them to return my calls.” And I said, “Well, when you see them the rest of the time, how do you reach out to them?” “Oh I always text them.” Well, okay, so text them for the appointment. And boom, bingo. There it was.
So you know, there’s nothing magic about you call for the appointment. You communicate with them however, in your best estimate, they want to be communicated with. And you mix it up, leave them a phone message, send them a note saying, “This is Marcy, and you’ve been such an amazing help with our organization. I would be so honored to have an opportunity to meet you in person. I’ll give you a phone call or you can reach out to me at . . . ” But do it multiple ways, that’s my point. Reach out to them. But don’t get stuck on it’s got to be one way or the other.
Get yourself an introduction. Have somebody else connect the dots. This can be through LinkedIn, this can be through a variety of different ways. But I want to tell you something here and I want to go to board. I hear a lot, “Oh, if only my board would help. If only my board would help me get that visit.” Well, okay, but there’s another side to that story, and that is that your board members, sometimes they’re like, “Okay, so I connect you with Nancy and Susie. What exactly are you going to do with them? What’s going to happen to them? Is it going to be a good experience for them, or are they going to say, ‘Oh man, why did Marcy put that person on me?'”
So you’ve really got to be clear when you’re asking your board to help you with introductions, what you are going to do with that very special relationship they are sharing with you. Be clear in your head about what they’re doing for you. They’re saying this is my friend and I am going to kind of put myself on the line to say, “I want you to sit down with this girl. She’s Marcy Heim, she’s [inaudible 00:20:49] organization, and it’s important to me, and I think you share my values. So I just appreciate it if you’d have a conversation with her.”
Okay, be sure you’re clear with your board or colleagues, when you want to get an introduction from anyone what you’re going to do with that. And a great way to do it, too, is you know what, if you’d like to come along, that’s fine with me. So invite them along.
Third thing in getting face to face, hang out where they hang out. If you’ve got a lot of your donors that are members of Rotary, or Kiwanis, or a service club, pop in at a few meetings and get a chance to say hey to them there. You won’t be as scary when you call them or text them, if they know you already, or they’ve seen you. And it’s a really good place where people are naturally introducing each other. Depending on what your organization is, there’ll be other places that people just hang out who have the values and interests of your organization. So find them where they are, where you can have an informal conversation.
Now, that doesn’t mean you get in front of them, you put your hand on the shoulder and you slowly push them into a corner and you say, I’ve been trying to find an opportunity to meet with you. No, it means that you very gently, very gently say to them, “I suspect that there are things that we do that you might really get excited about. I’d love to explore that more. Would you be willing to sit down with me for a little bit?”
And then the last one, understand that groups are safer. Now it’s more work and my clients complain about it, and that’s okay. But if you say if I can get a couple free people together, so this isn’t about me just talking to you. If it’s the first time you’re going to be in person, I’m bringing a group of folks together so we can talk about how best to share a new service that we’re offering. Or I’m bringing some folks together to look at what might be the best centerpiece at our next event. I don’t care, but you’ve got some kind of little topic and you bring a couple free people together, it’s safer for them, safer for them.
Okay, so that’s kind of in that house. And well, I’m at that, I’m often asked “Marcy, when do you give up?” Well, I have this thing I call patience, persistence. And by that I mean you’re patient, you have to understand that they don’t say, “Oh, my goodness, Marcy Heim called me and maybe I could have a visit with her.” Well, I’d love that, but you know, you may not be the call they’ve been just hanging on waiting for to have. So that’s part of what you get to inspire, right? So you’ve got to be persistent about it. But you also have to be patient.
And there’s no magic time and I don’t like to ever really leave, go of someone that I think has a reason to be with us. But I do try to put systems in place so I can put them off for a while you know, and kind of revisit them again in whatever times seem to make sense for them, six months a year, whatever.
And here . . . this is one place where I think what goes on in our heads can help us or really mess with us. So when I was 17, I got a hold of a book called “The Strangest Secret.” Actually, it was a cassette. Remember cassettes anybody out there cassettes, was a cassette and actually the cassette was of a 78 record that was the first spoken recording to sell a million copies in the year 1957. So not cutting edge yesterday, but every bit as powerful today as it was then. And Earl Nightingale said in this presentation, “We become what we think about,” “We become what we think about.” Wherever you are say this with me, “We become what we think about.”
Yeah. Now if it were easy to do, we would all be thin, rich and successful, happy, totally. It’s very hard. It’s very hard to manage that chatter going on in your head, but it’s vitally important. And it’s really important in this phase of what we’re doing, getting this first appointment and what happens here. Because we always decide what we put in our marvelous brain. Now we were talking about cultivation. Well, here’s one place where think about that brain of yours as a beautiful fertile soil, and you get to decide what the plant in it. The field doesn’t say to the farmer I want to be corn this year, I want to be corn. Frankly the field doesn’t care. Farmer can put whatever he wants in it.
But that marvelous brain of yours, you can put whatever you want in it. You can plant whatever you want, fear, worry, doubt, overwhelm, anxiety, hatred, jealousy. Plant a lot of different things patience, love, kindness, empathy, excitement, caring. It’s truly your choice. It’s truly your choice, always your choice, how we react, what we let in there, what we plant.
And we have to be real careful about what others plant in there. So you might have heard things like, “Oh, it’s so hard to get those first appointments. Oh, it’s so hard.” Well, if that’s what you planted in your brain, then it’s probably going to be pretty hard for you. If you planted in your brain, “Why do people want to see me?” So many people call them, they’re getting these calls all the time. You know, we don’t have puppies and kittens in our mission. They don’t want to talk to me. Our mission isn’t as valuable to them. All of this junk we say to ourselves.
If you don’t think that comes out on your phone call, or in your email, or in your messages, you are wrong. Let me just be really straight about it, you’re wrong. What you are thinking comes out in what you do. It’s just the way it is. You can’t be thinking, “This is so tough. I’m going to get on the phone and say hi this is Marcy and I’m excited.” No, you can’t pull it off. Now you might be effervescent on the phone. I’m not saying you can’t be energetic and positive and up on the phone, or you be who you are. But I’m saying that what you’re thinking as you’re doing it, shines through, it comes through. The person on the other end, your prospective giver, feels it.
So I don’t have music, but I’m going to sing anyway, this is something I’d like you to sing before you start making these calls. And those of you that know it, sing along. “People love to give me money to make a difference. People love to give me money, I’m the link to their investment.” People love to give you money because you help them make a difference. It’s never about the dollars. It’s always about what the money does, right? So plant that song in your head as you get on the phone, or send an email and say some of these things. What do you say? I’d like to get to know you better. Isn’t that true? You’d like to get to know them better.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about, help me understand what first brought you to our organization. Help me understand how your experience with our organization went. Help me understand, I love that phrase, one of my favorites. How did you come to supporting us? I’d like to thank you for your recent gift and let you know just what we will do with it. So all of these things are about them. I’d like to get to know you better. We’d love to hear your thoughts about, help me understand your opinion of this or your experience with that. How did you come to supporting us? I want to let you know just exactly what we’re going to do with your money.
So even if it’s an annual fund gift, this is what the annual fund made possible. Notice it doesn’t say, “I’d like to tell you about. I’d like to talk to you about, I’d like to share, I’d like to give you an update.” It’s all about you are going to talk to me. I am not going to vomit all over you, blah, blah, right. So when you’re talking to them . . . and I thought I have some more of these in here. So this is what you don’t say. I have this wonderful brochure to show you. I have this slideshow that’s a mere 378 slides. I’ll just set my computer up in your living room and away we go with my PowerPoint.
I’m sorry, but this was deadly, “The dean is going to talk about . . . ” Yes he is, and I’m going to place my [hearing 00:30:07] issue if he goes on for more than five minutes. I’ll tell you about this or this. I want to bring you up to speed on. All of these things say I am going to talk at you. I am going to talk at you, and that doesn’t work. It’s not fun. I want to talk, the person you’re calling wants to talk. Our favorite thing to talk about is ourselves. So your conversation with them has to really be about what they are going to share with you, not what you’re going to share with them.
Especially on this first visit, it’s just so vitally important that you make it all about them. Because, you know, let’s be real here, this is scary for both of you. This is really scary for both of you. This isn’t just scary for the donors, this is also scary for you. I’m just trying to find another . . . thought it was in here.
Okay. So at its core, remember that they have a relationship with you now that’s transactional, not that that’s bad. It’s transactional. You mail them a wonderful letter, that letter tells a great story, that letter invites them to invest, and they send you a check or they make the gift online. You post things on Facebook that get very real for them, and they click on their computer or their phone and they respond to things on Facebook, and they have a wonderful time with you. You give them I don’t know, maybe like a phone-a-thon but not so much. I just don’t think they’re quite as effective. But maybe you leave them a phone message. Again, you’re leaving them a message to reach out to them.
The point I’m trying to make here is all of the things you’re doing are transactional, you do something and they do something back. The second you shift to face to face it becomes personal, you’re stepping into their personal space. For many people, this is a monstrous deal. It’s a huge deal. So that’s part of why these calls have to be set up in such a way that this is all about how you’re going to help talk to me, I am not going to come and do something with you. And it’s just so important to be yourself, to be authentic to not try to camouflage why you’re coming. I used to say I’m from a college instead of saying the foundation because I thought it would help me get in the door. Finally, I let that go and I say, “I’m from a foundation. I raise money for the college. That’s what I do.”
And if somebody said on the phone to me, “So this is about money.” Well, not really this is about us having a chance to get to know each other better. To be clear, I’m not going to ask you for money on this visit, not at all. I don’t know you well enough yet to know if this is a fit for you, or what is a fit for you. Okay, but just keep in mind that this is scary for them too just like it’s scary for you.
So we’ve got that visit now and let me talk now quickly about some do’s . . . what’s my time. Some do’s and don’ts for success on the visit. Here we go. So do, what I was just saying, understand it’s scary for them too, that transactions . . . a lot of times when you’re at . . . they’ll say to you something like, “Just send me a letter,” or “Why do you want to see me?” Have you ever heard that? “Why do you want to see me?” You know just, “Why do you want to see me?”
And that’s when we need to be sure that we have that sentence we can count on. I’m looking for your advice on this. I want to get to know you better. But those things that are truly where you’ve got to come from in your mind, and in your heart is I want to get to know you better from an authentic place. Not you’ve been giving us the money and if I can get face to face with you, maybe I can up the ante.
You know, if that’s going on in your head, it’s going to come out in your words, in your voice and everything you do. And they want to know too are they going to be put on the spot. So it’s fine to want to have this conversation where you learn more but make sure it’s not, “So tell me, what exactly do you know about our organization? Do you know how many people we serve? Do you know . . . ” You’re not going to quiz them on your organization. They’re not going to be put on the spot.
So your questions has to be general like, what do you think about . . . how do you feel that program is viewed in the community or something like that. We’ll get more into that.
Build sincere rapport. I’ve been alluding to that the whole thing. But do you notice the word I capitalized here sincere. Right, you can smell a fake a mile away. For the folks on this call who know me, you know Marcy is Marcy all the time. And for those of you who don’t trust me, I’m Marcy all the time.
You want to create a joyful giver versus seeking an ATM machine, right. We’re not out there to say, “How can I get more money out of them?” No, we’re there to create a joyful giver, and what do I mean by that? I mean . . . what’s my time here. Okay, I mean that I want . . . think about this. I’ll make this quick here. But think about a gift you gave someone once and you knew they were going to open it and just say, “Wow, that is just the most perfect thing, I’ve wanted one of these, this is great.” And then think about a time maybe you’re invited to something and maybe a wedding and you hardly knew the people and you were like, “Oh, my goodness. Now I got to come up with a wedding gift really. I don’t know, let’s send a check. I don’t know what it should be. [inaudible 00:36:52] here.
Well, there’s not a lot of joy in that gift. So you want to be sure that their gift to you creates joy for them. And it’s really important in this first visit to seek shared values and interests. And you can even start this on the phone call. Seek those shared values and interests, that’s what it’s about. They can have all the money in the flipping universe, but if they don’t resonate with what you do, or if they don’t have values that at least let you know, you’ve got a place to step off of, to perhaps open their minds to being interested in what you do, you’re wasting time, if they’ve just got money. You need those shared values and interests.
And this I learned . . . coming up next, this one I learned from Tony Robbins. I coached with him and I love him. And when I am with people for the first time, in fact, all the time I specifically mirror gesture. If they cross their arms, I cross my arms. If they don’t move their hands around, I tend to speak a lot with my hands, I don’t do it. I use their words back to them. I watch my pace. I’m a fast talker. And if I’m with somebody who’s talking very, very slowly, I can talk very, very slowly. And if I’ve got somebody who talks to me in a loud volume voice, by golly, I can talk right back just as loud, or if somebody is very quiet.
Someone said to me once, “Marcy isn’t that kind of manipulative?” And I would say, no, this is what it is. I don’t want anything in my personality, or anything about me to get in the way of the relationship I’m trying to build. I want them to be comfortable.
And this last one I shouldn’t have to put on here, but it’s so important. Be kind, be fun, be polite. But we take this so seriously, that we’re so uptight about we’ve got to get in, we’ve got to have this visit. I have three questions I’m going to ask. I need to get this information. We need to move them along. Let’s get them moving down the road. Come on, it’s got to be, hey, we’re going to have a nice time talking together. Be kind, be fun, be polite, okay.
My third do, be sincerely interested in them. I think this is one of the hardest things you’re going to have to do, my friend. Because right now I hope you know I am right here. I’m not . . . . as much as that ocean is calling, I am right here. I am fully present with you. When I say, “Tell me about . . . ” I want to be interested in them. Tell me about your family. Tell me about the painting on the wall there, tell me about whatever. But I am there. If you’re too worried about what you’re going to say next, you’re not there. You’re in your head. Push down, you know, all of that stuff.
I call it all in listening. You’re all there. You’re listening 100%. You’re not thinking, “Oh my gosh. This one is running over a little bit. If that’s traffic, I’m never going to get to my next appointment on time.” Or you’re not thinking, “All right, what’s the next question I wanted to ask you?” You’re all in listening. And I quote Stephen Covey who I love, “Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.”
It’s a fine answer. It doesn’t have to be, “I’ve done this,” and then, “Oh, yeah, I have too.” It’s not about you, about them, always about them.
Okay, so connecting, coming around that cycle when you’re in there for the first time . . . I always go with the weather because to me, the weather doesn’t get me in trouble. “Oh, it’s raining,” and then I quickly shift to the purpose, “We appreciate or I appreciate you meeting with me today. It’s a pleasure to get to know you better.”
Some questions I like on first visits, “May I ask how you first heard of the work we’re doing? Do you believe the gift you make to us makes a difference?” That’s a huge question for me. “Well, I don’t know you know. I make one and I think you’re doing . . . ” Do you believe the gift you make to us makes a difference? My [Wi-Fi 00:41:01] died. Okay.
How do you feel were viewed or known in the community? Oh, that’s huge. That’s a huge question. And I like to ask permission, if I’m going to talk to them about something we’re doing. “We’re beginning a new program. May I briefly share some details?” And then my friends, you need to be ready to briefly share some details. You’ve got two sentences and shut up. Okay.
Encourage them to talk. You’re one of our longtime volunteers, friends, you know, annual fund donors , whatever, what drew you to our organization? Would you like to talk about how you wish to support our work? That’s a wonderful question. It doesn’t say, do you want to make a gift today? It says, do you want to talk about how you wish to support our work? It’s a good question.
How do you feel about our mission? Please say more about that. This is huge for me. I talked about values. We feel folks who get involved with our value, compassion, service and faith. Do you agree? And are these values important to you?
What was your favorite gift to a cause? Any cause? I think that’s a wonderful question to ask. Because it says to me, whatever they talk about, I’m just going to kind of explore that with them to really figure out where that magic came. Was it how they were thanked? Was it in how they were followed up with? Was it the fact that they did an onsite kind of thing? Was it they actually went and volunteered and did an action? Was it that somebody didn’t bother them and just sent him an email because that’s what they asked for, and they left them alone? What was your favorite gift to a cause and why?
From and all the things we discussed today, what’s been the most meaningful? At the end of a kind of wrap up. What advice do you have for me as a board member? What advice do you have for me as a fundraiser? What advice do you have for me? And be ready to hear, and when they give you the advice be quiet. Not, “Well, but you know, I do this.” Don’t get defensive. Don’t answer it at all. Listen to the advice, say nothing. “Thank you. I appreciate your advice. Thank you. I appreciate your advice.” It’s all you say, okay?
More do’s the last one I think this is really huge and a lot of times I assume we do this, but really find out how they want to be communicated with, discover their personal preferences. Email, phone, text, do they have a gatekeeper? People say to me how do I get around the gatekeeper? Don’t, I love gatekeepers. His name was Dick [Heims 00:43:34] and wonderful man. On the last day I was with the university . . . if you can believe this, he faxed in a $1.5 million gift in my honor unrestricted to my college, in honor of my work there. Wasn’t his first gift by any means, but was a really big deal.
Well, his gatekeeper was Shirley. Shirley was a dear, dear friend of mine. At his funeral, Shirley and I sat there and we were very close. So I wasn’t trying to get around his gatekeeper, I was working with her. I respected the fact that he had put her in her place to help him do what he needed to do.
Okay, updates on impact. How do they want to be updated? What’s the best way for us to stay in touch? This one makes me crazy because I want to go out and see them. I’m a face-to-face kind of girl. I want to be in person. I’m loving this today. But I was telling Steven ahead of time, I wish I could take everybody on this call, and have them in a room with me where I can see their faces and talk to them, and know. And have them raise their hand or jump up and down, or give me some feedback right here. I would love to be able to be face to face with all my donors about what’s happening with their support. But some of them say, “I don’t want to see you, Marcy. No, uh-uh. Send me a quarterly report, that’s all I want.” Send me a report in November that’s when the family gets together and looks at things. The rest of the time, uh-uh.
Okay, what are their limitations? Do they drive at night or not? Do they have hearing things? I had a wonderful, wonderful board members, oh, God, love him, would he get a hearing aid? No. So all of our meetings, I knew he was never getting 90% of it. So I made sure that we did things that gave him more in writing as things went along. Or if I really wanted him to hear something, I would say, “So Bob, did you hear now that Cindy just . . . ” and I would make sure he heard it. What are their limitations in terms of how they go through their lives?
Attending events, what do they enjoy? What don’t they enjoy? Don’t they want to go at all? Is it a big deal to them, because perhaps they’ve lost their spouse and it’s a real social thing for them? Do they have split residences? Do they spend a chunk of the year someplace without snow or something else? Where is that? How does that work for them? Is there a time of day that’s better or worse for them? Are they night owls or are they up at 5 in the morning and wondering why you’re calling them at 9 at night. You need to know those things, those are just kind of general things.
Another do is dream with them. How do they want to be known and remembered in the community? I love that on my first visits, you know, how do you want to be remembered? When you’re not here anymore what do you want people to say about you? Help them see how they’re giving supports their core values, connect that dot for them.
And understand that big donors were talking major gifts here, so we’re looking into getting face to face so we can grow major gifts. They want big ideas. They don’t like, “Well, trying to be [inaudible 00:46:44] enough money to balance the budget this year.” Oh, that’s a big vision. I’m not saying that balancing the budget isn’t important, but they are not big ideas.
I get the opportunity to speak up at so many Association of Fundraising Professionals Philanthropy days in November, and I was born on philanthropy day. That’s right and so often I listen to the people were honoring in these National Philanthropy days and they all say, “Bring me a big idea and I’ll help.” Remember that we take their success no matter what level it was and we turn that into something significant, ah what a gift, okay.
So the last one . . . and this one boy people on the call who are my clients and I coach know that I get kind of feisty about this one. Don’t you ever come to me and say, “Oh, Marcy, you know I had a good first visit, but then I got busy and well, you know, it’s been about two months and now I don’t really know what to do again. It kind of feels like I got to do that first visit all over again.” That’s not my problem. Take care of business people. Come on now, come on now. Firmly set up the next step, you take responsibility for that. There should only ever be one first face-to-face meeting only one, come on now, only one. I love you all but only one.
Okay because at that meeting, you’re going to set up what happens next. And you’ve got all of the opportunity to make that just what you want. So say in the conversation you heard that, you know, there’s somebody that’s going to be a good solid annual fund donor, but right now in their life they got a couple kids and college, and they’ve got some parents in senior living. And it’s just not the time for them to really be looking at a lot bigger gift right now, probably not going to happen right now. You can say to them, “Well, I have so enjoyed today, let’s be sure to get together again in about . . . ” I don’t you know, this is January now, so I’ll make it real for today. Let’s get together again sometime in summer. So I’ve just put them off for six months, right? And that’s perfectly fine. Let’s get together again in six months.
Now I’ve got two little words down here. These words are power, and they can do all kinds of good stuff for you or they can really mess with you. I promise. So if you say to them, “I promise to give you a call in summer and we’ll get together again then, if that’s what you feel is a good time for the next step, I promise.” But then you better have your act together in Bloomerang database or wherever, so that you’re giving yourself that next contact date reminder and you’re calling.
But just think of how easy this call is. You say to them, “Hey, this is Marcy. You know, we got together back in January, and remember, I promised to get in touch with you in summer so we could you know, get together again.” “Oh yeah, oh, you kept your promise. Oh yeah, let’s get together, it’s great.” But you break a promise, and I’m not . . . my visual isn’t so hot here. But a promise means everything, but once it’s broken sorry means nothing.
So use that I promise stingily. Stingily, is that a word? Stingily use that promise, I promise stingily but so powerful. Or you might say I promise we’ll get together again next week because today there’s several things you’ve talked about that we need to continue the conversation on.
All right, so don’ts for success face to face. And you can tell me, I really struggled over this. Is it D-O-N like apostrophe t, apostrophe s or don’t like just s? I don’t know don’t. Hello wallet. How do you do? I want money. I don’t have to say much about this. You think you can cover up an intention that’s just about the money, and you can’t. No matter how good you think you are at trying to disguise it, you will be obvious. You are there because you want money and that’s all you want. And everything you’re saying and doing, is about the money, and you don’t authentically care about person at all, and that’s it.
Number two don’t interrogate them. Now certainly, we want to get to know them better and one great way is to say some of the things I gave you. You’ll notice a lot of those weren’t questions directly, so don’t take probing questions. I literally . . . a wonderful girl her name was Mary Jo but we had to let her go because she was literally like come in like with her clipboard, you know, and it would “Hi. Hi, any kids? Any staff? Are they appreciating [staff 00:51:51]?” and she would lean closer and closer to them. And they would back up and just look horrified. Now she went into real estate, and she was wildly successful in real estate. But she was not fundraiser, no probing questions.
Now no taking, if somebody says something to me like, “I’d like a copy of that,” I will use that as an opportunity to bring out a little notebook, a small little thing, and just say, “I want to write that down, so I don’t forget to send it out to you.” And I’ll make a little note then once I have it out, I’ll use that and I might write another few things down. But I try to be real discreet about that.
And the other thing is, goodness gracious, don’t interrupt them. You know, my friend RJ can talk on . . . I swear it’s 15 minutes, but I’m sure it’s not about a golf shot. You know, I looked at that green and today it just looked like this was going to be my lucky green. And I like golf and all that but he can be . . . don’t interrupt him, don’t say, “Hey, RJ. Can I have like the short version of the golf shot?” It’s clearly an exciting for them. Listen, listen, and don’t be worrying about what you’re going to say next, or what question your next. Or if all you get done on this first visit is listening to their golf shot that was okay. That’s okay.
Don’t judge them. And I feel really strongly about this. We all have phrases, beliefs, and traditions, you know, we’ve all come from different places. We’ve all had different life experiences. We all are today, a collection of the beliefs, the perceptions, the experiences that we’ve had, and they’re very different than someone else’s. And we can create perceptions out of nothing, out of not having any experiences. So sometimes we will say and do things that others might find offensive or hurtful. I’m just asking you let it go, try to take a big breath and just let it go.
Try to be the one that helps them understand that may be something they said could have been hurtful, but try not to judge. I swear there are people in Madison, Wisconsin who get up and say, “How can I be offended today?” And they look for it. And you know what you look for you’re going to find. And what you focus on you’re going to grow, so if you want to spend your life offended, there’s lots of things out there that will come into play for you.
I remember a couple things, oh a lot of times I forget when I first started I was 22. I was the youngest fundraiser they ever hired. I’d go out to these people and they say, “Oh I thought you’d be older, you know.” I had sometimes . . . I was in life sciences, I’m a biochemist by training and someone say, “Oh, I thought you be a man.” When you talked to me on the phone, I was a woman then. You know, somehow they would just think I’d be different, it’s okay. This is it, this is me. Just don’t judge them, just take them for who they are, and like them for who they are, and be the kindness in their day. It’s your choice. Okay.
Don’t talk too much, enough said. I’m a good listener, yeah, practice it, do it. All right. So in a nutshell . . . and Steven, I’m trying to leave a little time for questions here. Embrace your first face-to-face visit with a new perspective major giver as your chance, your opportunity, your gift, to deeply listen, hear with kindness, dream big together and launch a lifetime of engagement and giving to your mission. So with that, I say thank you for your attention and time. And we’ve got a few minutes for questions. I would love to be able to answer some of those for you now.
Steven: Yes, thank you, Marcy. First, we owe you some thanks for sharing all this knowledge with us over the last hour or so for free. So thank you so much for being here. This is really awesome. And I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I know you’re not feeling 100%, so extra thank you, for making this happen. I would have felt bad.
Marcy: [Thank you very much 00:56:12].
Steven: Yeah, we’ve got some questions here. One thing caught my ear early on, Marcy, you mentioned monthly donors is perhaps good prospects. Do you have any stories or did anything pop out in your mind from maybe at your time at the university of a small monthly donor who ended up being a large donor sometime in the future?
Marcy: Oh my gosh, there’s all kinds of them. You know, sometimes they’re surprises and they’re also the people I don’t know how . . . you’re probably my . . . well, lovely man. But I visited his house and he gave me the chair of honor. Well, the chair of honor was where he sat most of time and it smells, like that with where he sat them most. And I just, said oh my goodness. And he talked to me about, you know, his vision, you know, for what we were doing. This was a donor who had a passion for environmental things that the college was doing.
And we visited about it. And he had been giving us small gifts. I was in the area, I thought I would stop in and say hello to him, an older gentleman. So it was sort of a courtesy call, I’d never met him. And we had the conversation. I sat on the chair of honor that smelt like . . . you know, smelt like urine, to be honest. And at the end of the call, he reached out, he patted me on the knee, and he said, “Marcy, honey,” he said, “I think it’s so nice that you stopped in to see me today. And you know, I know my little gifts now don’t mean a lot, but I do have $2 million in my estate for you when I pass.” And I went, “Oh, I mean we had no clue. We had no clue, no clue whatsoever.”
Steven: I love the little guys. They kind of slip through the cracks [inaudible 00:58:04].
Marcy: Yeah. And I think they’re always miracles out there. I have somebody . . . I’m seeing here somebody says, how do you apply this to an intimate meeting with a small group of potential donors who are friends of a current donor? Do you make a direct ask the end or not? Again, I don’t know from just this comment where you are with them if these are donors. And I’ll tell you probably the biggest deal about this whole asking business for me is people should never be surprised that you’re asking for money. That’s really the key.
So if you set up that meeting Cindy, and you let everybody know that at the end of this meeting, everyone is going to be asked to consider an investment. That’s a completely different thing than if you bring them together to have a chat, and then oh, by the way, I’ve got that pledge forms here. That to me, is the bait and switch, and it’s fine. I wouldn’t do it that way.
So I think more important than whether or not it happens is that you have to be really clear that you’re going to be asking for money when you set up whatever these meetings are. Just like I say, sometimes in these face-to-face calls, if people say, “Is this about money?” I say, I’m not going to be asking you for money on this visit, and I don’t. Okay.
Steven: There you go. I love it, set those boundaries, right.
Marcy: I would like to just . . . if I could do Steven, I would like to just share. I’m doing a two day workshop. It’s called More Major Gifts. And I’m having one in Minneapolis, February 11th and 12, and one in Milwaukee on the 20th to the 22nd. This will be just a small part of what we do with that, and I would love for anybody here . . . I know several of you on the call have already been to this. And I would love to have anyone consider joining me for that. I’ve got a few spots left. It’s very small. I keep it about 25 people. I don’t want a big crowd and just email me for more info and I’d be delighted to speak with you.
Steven: I love it, definitely take her up on that. Because if you’ve been listening for the last hour or so you know what a wealth of knowledge Marcy is. Marcy, it’s past 2 o’clock I don’t want to keep people too long especially if they haven’t had lunch. But would it be okay if people emailed you with additional questions? We didn’t get to all the questions in the chat, but do you mind that?
Marcy: I would love that. And my email is just my name marcy@marcyheim.com. So you go for it yep, that’s great.
Steven: Cool, please take advantage. Man, this was great. This is a worth the wait since last summer, so thanks so much for doing this, Marcy. It’s a lot of fun.
Marcy: Steven, I always am delighted to do anything for Bloomerang. Again, I thank you for what you do. And I thank you on behalf of my clients who successfully use your product. It’s great.
Steven: And I’ll see you in Indianapolis in a couple months, and San Antonio. I’m going to get a lot of Marcy time. It’s great.
Marcy: Yes, and I’ll be thinking of you . . .
Steven: So thanks all of you for hanging out as well. Oh go ahead.
Marcy: I’ll be thinking of you while in the snow this weekend?
Steven: Oh, yes, I should say . . . you know, I usually say have a good weekend at folks. But maybe I should say have a safe weekend because I know there are a lot of us are in the bull’s eye for the weather. So thank you all of you for spending an hour out of your day. We will get you the recording and the slides. And please, stay safe this weekend, stay off the roads if you don’t have to be out on the road.
We’d love to see you next week because we got lots of great webinars planned. We’ve got Martin Leifeld joining us one week from today. Going to talk about an interesting philosophy he’s got on fundraising. Should be a really good session, I got a peek at the slides earlier this week. Going to be a fun one. So join us next week, same time, same place, we’d love to see you again.
Check out our webinar schedule. There’s lots of other things scheduled out throughout the year, lots of different topics and speakers. I definitely think you’ll find at least one session there that applies to something you’ve got going on. So register again. We’ll see you next week hopefully. Have a good rest of your Thursday and have a safe weekend. We’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.
Marcy: Bye.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.
Kristen Hay