Today’s question comes from Jon, an executive director at a health foundation.
Jon asks: “What can we do to secure a visit? That’s our greatest challenge.”
I love this topic, because fundraising is about relationships. And, if you can’t get a visit or “get your foot in the door,” you certainly can’t build a relationship.
Great question, Jon.
Use Your Connections First
To begin, use connections. Do any of your board or staff members know the person you’re trying to meet? Use LinkedIn and other types of social media to determine if your potential donor already has a connection at your organization.
It goes without saying that you’re much more likely to get a meeting with someone if they already know and trust someone at your organization, like a board member or other type of volunteer.
If you find a connection, ask the person with the existing relationship to make the introduction or set up a meeting. At a minimum, get permission to use that person’s name when you call to introduce yourself.
However, if an existing relationship doesn’t exist or work, the next step is to work on scheduling an appointment on your own. In order to do this, you will want to introduce yourself and request a meeting by calling or writing.
How to Overcome Key Objections
Most people won’t readily agree to meet, so be prepared for objections they may have. Some of the most common objections include things like:
- I’m too busy
- I don’t want to meet in person
- I’m not interested
- I already gave
Be prepared to overcome these objections.
I’m too busy.
For I’m too busy, say something like:
I understand how busy you are. I will keep our conversation to 20 minutes, and I’m happy to come meet you at your home or office at your convenience.
I don’t want to meet in person.
For I don’t want to meet in person, you can say:
It’s really important that we get to know our donors and find out why you give to our organization. I would also like to ask your advice, and I’d really like to put a name to a face.
I’m not interested in your cause.
If they tell you I’m not interested in your cause or organization, you might say:
I respect that, and I’d really like your advice anyway. Would you be willing to give me 20 minutes?
I already gave.
Finally, I already gave. You can say:
That’s great! Rest assured, I’m not going to ask your for money at this meeting. I’d really like to say thank you, let you know how your money was used, and ask for your advice.
The Bottom Line
Anticipating and preparing for objections will help you overcome them while on the phone with people you are trying to meet with.
Remember, try to find a connection first. That will always be your best way in to meet with a new potential donor, but when all else fails, ask for their advice.
What’s worked best for you to get your foot in the door with prospective donors? Add your comment below.