When I meet with a donor in a one on one meeting to ask for money – especially with one I’m meeting for the first time – is thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.
I love it… and I hate it (more love than hate, but I need to keep it real).
A few weeks ago, I was engaged with a first time donor. After thirty minutes into my visit with Mr. Prospect I could feel the anticipation in my heart growing. I’m an optimist in the heat of the moment. The conversation was lively. He was asking great questions about our case for support.
And then, the unthinkable happened.
I put a number on the table and waited. He asked, “Wait! Are you asking me to give that kind of money?! No way. I’m not giving money.” He literally did a 180 degree turn from fully engaged to completely distant.
And then, he did the second worst thing possible.
Mr. Prospect wanted to offer advice about how to raise money. “You know, we should take this to the committee at my church, just to keep them informed on what you need… and then we could see what they might do with it.”
The advice seems good on the surface, but the numbers on philanthropy don’t support his approach (besides, anyone who is so adamantly opposed to giving should never guide your thinking).
Fortunately, I read an article the day before about trends in giving (I’m a fundraising geek). The stats in the article should make anyone think twice about group style fundraising. So, I took advantage of the teaching moment and drew a little homemade diagram* on a napkin at our table that looked like this…
I said, “More money is going to come from individuals (75% of 373 Billion) than anywhere else… I believe the best use of my time and limited resources is to invest in individuals.”
Why am I telling you a story about apparent failure? Here are four good reasons why hearing “no” should never deter you from making one to one visits to ask for money:
- Not everyone is going to say “yes.” Hearing “no” gives you an opportunity to handle objections and do whatever you can to maximize the moment. Eventually, I encouraged Mr. Prospect to invite his group for a tour of our non-profit’s facility. The tour is designed to be memorable and make an impression. Seeing the need is powerful and provides amazing clarity about our work. I will follow up with group members individually to ask them to financially support the impact of the organization.
- Visiting with individuals yields an immediate decision — even if it is “no.” Committees are bound in red tape. If you are fortunate enough to uncover the group’s decision maker, deal directly with that person (and schedule a one on visit with him/her to get a decision).
- One on one visits provide an opportunity for dialogue and clarity. One of my favorite story tellers uses the mantra, “If you confuse, you lose.” Meeting with individuals is about conversation and connection. It’s almost impossible to have a great conversation with an entire group of people.
- The numbers don’t lie – individuals give more – SIGNIFFICANTLY more.
Are you frustrated with the results of your event/group/committee fundraising? We can show you how to be in front of more individuals who will say “Yes! I want to give to the puppies/people/places you serve today!”
On a side note… I met with a different prospect the very next day who said, “Yes!” Same presentation. Same ask. What was the difference?
Sign up to receive my blog and I will share five bonus tips I used for a successful result. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject PROSPECTS for my “FIVE Really Great Ideas for Prospecting” pdf.