Yesterday, we celebrated five years of the Nonprofit Development Partnership programs, workshops and seminar with cake and a presentation by a founding Steering Committee member. Carol Blake of the North Valley Hospital Foundation presented, “Securing a Gift – It’s More than ‘Just Money.'”
She spoke to the necessity of preparation in asking for a major gift. Of knowing the organization’s story. Of making one’s own financial commitment to the organization. Of getting to know the potential donor’s connection to the organization.
Then, she stated something surprising. Most of us think of the actual ask, “Would you consider a gift?” to be the bulk of the work. The surprise – once you set up the face to face appointment, 85% of the work is done. And, she said from experience that setting up the appointment is much tougher than the actual ask.
Once we get up the courage to dial the prospective donor’s phone number, we need to be prepared to stand our ground according to Carol. Literally. Stand up, focus on the goal: setting the date for the appointment. Smile. Negotiate. Persist. Be cordial. Use the script previously created to reply to the donor’s excuses not to meet. Share your passion in knowing that the appointment will be important to the donor, to the organization, to you.
After illustrating how difficult successfully setting up an appointment can be, Carol went on to describe the visit with the donor, the planning for a follow-up visit and the finalizing of the gift. In the end, she reminded all o us that our organizations are providing solutions to what we as human need.