HOST: Holly Hall
How do we engage donors?
- Make Connections
- Gather information on their desires and interests now. What are their current engagements with the community at large? Research their annual givings.
- Be a good listener, not just a talker.
- Always remember that the relationship is institutional too, not just personal with the program officer.
- It takes time.
- What are the connections to our organization, mission, and specialties?
What do you look for in a major donor prospects?
- Linkage – personal ties
- Interest – past giving
- Ability – to give
How do we approach a wealthy donor?
- Listen and ask questions that will lead them to open up to you.
- Ask yourself: what is important to this donor?
- Ask mutual contacts to connect you with the donor.
- Listening is key! (Listen for what is not being said and what is being said).
- Think about the donor’s circumstances and perspective.
- Our job is to bring the conversation back on track. Follow the thread that is being left out by the donor.
- Keep donors engaged. Make them feel like they are a part of the organization.
- Don't send generic mailings--make it personal.
- Ask them to visit the facilities or projects so that they are able to see the final product of their donation.
- Invite them to events and gatherings.
- Seeing the project at hand; seeing the need of the money and the difference it’ll make.
- KEEP THEM IN THE LOOP!
Top Errors in Major-Gift Asking Process
1. Inadequate stewardship on previous gifts. Failure to ensure donor feels satisfied that previous gifts made a difference.
2. Failure to follow up on donor concerns. (Concerns and objections are a normal part of the process).
3. Asking too early/under asking/not asking.
4. Lowering the ask too soon.
5. Not listening to the donor.
6. Asking for something the donor does not want.
7. Not considering what the donor wants.
8. Not engaging the donor in a full relationship.
9. Asking husband and ignoring a wife or adult child.
10. Not going to the donor to ask.
11. Asking in the wrong environment.
12. Surprising the donor.
13. Having the wrong person ask.
14. Not using an asking team. (Asking team includes people that are strategically linked to the donors interests and linkages – includes a peer, someone they respect and trusts, and the development officer of the organization).
15. Failure to follow up regularly during the process.
16. Not paying attention to timing.