We’re in the middle of the Major Gifts Challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with the Challenge, check out the introductory video here!
In the last video, you learned how to secure your first meeting with a prospective major gift donor.
Hopefully you’ve secured a meeting with a prospective major gift donor. Great job!
Set a Goal for Your Meeting
Now it’s time to think about the purpose and goals for the meeting.
The number one goal is to get you closer to a gift from this donor. Here’s what you need to know to achieve this.
- Does the donor need to be more engaged?
- Do you need to know more about the donor’s motivations and interests?
- What prompted the donor to originally give to your nonprofit? And what would motivate them to give more?
The answer to these questions will be different for every donor, but they help you cultivate a relationship with your donor. They help you understand their motivations and interests. They provide the basis to seek a major gift.
Let’s see how that’s done…
Simple Ways to Get Your Donor Talking
Remember — what’s the number one thing people love to talk about? If you said, “themselves,” you’re right.
You should let the donor do the majority of the talking. Go into the meeting with open-ended questions in mind, to get the conversation going in the right direction.
Some examples include:
- What made you decide to give to us in the first place? What motivates you to continue to give?
- Do you have a personal connection to our work – can you tell me about it?
- What do you like most and least about our organization?
- How do we treat you as a donor compared with other organizations? How can we do a better job?
- How are we perceived in the community? Do you have ideas of how we can get the word out about our work?
- What other charities do you give to and why?
- What would you like to see change in the community/world? What’s important to you philanthropically? In the scheme of your priorities, how important is our work?
- Would you like to get more involved/volunteer? How?
Consider Your Next Steps
Don’t leave a meeting without considering your next steps.
- Set a next meeting date to discuss their financial contribution
- Send them informational materials
- Get them involved as a volunteer — on a committee or a one time or ongoing role
- Answer any questions they may have
Be ready to schedule a time to ask for a gift once you’ve learned what you need. Try something like this:
I’m so glad we had a chance to speak today. Based on our conversation, I hope we could schedule a time for me to come back to you with a specific proposal about our needs and the ways you could help? Could we schedule that now?
If you think they aren’t ready, you could say something like this:
As you know, one of the reasons I’m on this listening tour is to identify people who would like to support the organization in more meaningful ways. I’d love to get you in for a tour, or to volunteer in the next few weeks. Does that work for you?
However, when in doubt, ask. Try this approach:
As you know, we are looking for people to step up and support the organization financially. Could I come back to you with a proposal for financial support in the next few weeks?
Challenge Yourself Action Item
Step 1: Identify your meeting goals.
Identify your goals and create a loose agenda for the meeting. You’ll use these goals and the agenda to help guide you through your conversation with the donor.
Step 2: Prepare open-ended questions.
Create and print a series of open-ended questions to ask your donor. The goal here is to learn more about her interests as they relate to your cause and to seek the donor’s advice.
Going Further with Major Gifts
If you’re looking for even more specifics of what to say (and what not to say) at a donor meeting, check out Mastering Major Gifts. This 7-week online course guides you through exactly what to say during your donor meetings, improving your skills and confidence. It also gives you all the tools you need to conduct your follow up work after the meeting.
Act, Comment and Participate
Now it’s your turn to share your progress with the Major Gifts Challenge. How do you conduct donor meetings? What types of questions do you ask?
Let me know about your experiences with donor meetings in the comments.