Struggling to Schedule Donor Meetings? 3 Tips to Make it Happen

Image: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You know that a face-to-face visit is a powerful cultivation opportunity. And you’re trying to meet with your donors to build relationships. You call, you leave messages, you email, but do your donors make it easy? Not really... 

Fundraisers like you often tell me, “Donors don’t call me back,” or, “Our donors say they love our mission and will keep on giving, so there’s no reason to meet.” What’s a successful fundraiser to do? Read on for three tips to pin down your donor and finally get that meeting!

1. Try “appropriate persistence”

The truth is, you’ll often need to call or email more than once to pin down a time and place to visit with your donor. So don’t be afraid to extend an invitation more than once. And follow up more than once.

But there’s a fine line between doing what it takes to schedule a meeting and being just too darned pushy. Use your gut to decide when to back off and accept that this donor just doesn’t want to meet in person. 

2. Seek their advice

Don’t people love giving advice? If your donor believes that she’ll be sharing her opinions and not just listening to you go on about your nonprofit’s work, you boost your chances of hearing ‘yes’ to your request.

Plus, bringing an issue to your donor for her feedback is a win-win! While you’re cultivating a valuable donor relationship, you’re also hearing an unbiased opinion on a new program idea, communications strategy or the theme for your annual gala. 

3. Make it quick and easy

Everyone is busy, including (especially?) your big donors. Make it easy for donors to accept your meeting request by offering to 1) keep it short, and 2) come to them. Try, “I’ll be in your neighborhood on March 10 in the afternoon. Would it be ok to swing by your office for 20 minutes to say thank you in person for your recent gift?”

What advice do you have for scheduling face-to-face meetings? Please share in the Comments box below. Your fellow fundraisers and I thank you!

If you'd like proven fundraising tips and ideas delivered every week to your inbox, sign up here. You’ll also receive a special gift, my step-by-step guide, Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money!