Welcome to the next video in the Major Gifts Challenge series! If you’re unfamiliar with the Challenge, check out the introductory video here.
Here’s some good advice in the pursuit of mastering major gifts.
“It’s not so much about what you ask as what you don’t ask,” says Michael Parkinson, a British Journalist. He speaks volumes about the subject of this video. As he suggests, consider what you’re not asking as you prepare ask meetings with major gift prospects.
“Ask and you shall receive,” is good biblical advice for fundraisers. You won’t get if you don’t ask.
It’s time to ask.
Following the methods used to scheduled your cultivation meetings, schedule your ask meetings — but with a few big exceptions.
Be Up Front – You ARE Asking for Money
This time, it IS about asking for money. Your relationship is based on honesty, so be up front about that.
Tell them you want to meet to discuss the pressing needs of your cause and how they might help. Be up front and explain that you would like to ask them for financial support.
After all, if you don’t tell them and they are caught by surprise, what’s the chance they would give you a really big gift? You actually want them thinking about what they will do before your meeting.
Making the Call – Be Prepared
It’s scary … I know … but you need to pick up the phone and call your donors. I promise it will be much easier if you’re prepared in advance.
Imagine the objections they might have. Prepare responses for each.
If they say, “I’m too busy.”
This won’t take long – only 20 minutes, and I can meet you at your home or office at your convenience.
They say, “I can’t give a lot.”
That’s okay – every bit helps. The children (or whatever cause) are too important not to ask. They will be grateful for any support you can give.
They say, “Can we do this over the phone?”
The kids (insert your cause here) are too important for me not to ask in person. I want to sit down with you and discuss this with you face to face.
If they really push back, then you can say something like this:
It sounds like this isn’t a good time for me to come talk about these needs. Would next month be better? Can we schedule something now or should I call you back in a few weeks?
If they still resist, let them know that you thought they were ready for this important conversation, but apologize for misunderstanding. Then ask what they had in mind to continue to help support your organization.
Challenge Yourself Action Item
Step 1: Make a plan to handle objections.
Some prospects will be hesitant to meet with you, especially when you’re up front about why you want to meet with them. Think of all their potential objections and draft responses to them so you can feel more comfortable and prepared on your calls.
Step 2: Identify two people to ask.
Identify two of your 20 major gift prospects you think are ready to be asked. Pick up the phone and schedule a time to ask for a gift. If they are not ready, move on to the next two on your list.
Remember, you’re never going to feel 100% ready to ask. There’s always more research to be done. However, your donor might be ready, and your cause is most certainly ready.
You need the money now, right?
Then it’s time to ask!
Going Further with Major Gifts
Do you want more help securing an ask meeting and preparing for the ask itself?
In my 7 week online course, Mastering Major Gifts, I go into great detail and provide specific language about how to ask for a gift. If you’re ready to take the next step in raising major gifts, your search for a mentor is over — sign up today.
Act, Comment and Participate
Now it’s your turn to share your progress with the Major Gifts Challenge. How do you request an ask meeting? What has worked and what challenges have you faced?
Let me know about your experiences with securing ask meetings in the comments.