I know what you are thinking. You don’t like role-playing, right? To be honest, it’s not my favorite thing to do either. But, as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” Or, as I prefer, “Practice makes progress.”
Even if you dislike role-playing, you probably prefer it to bumbling through the answer to a donor’s question. Practicing your interactions with donors will help you to 1) confidently answer donor questions, 2) gracefully respond to a solicitation objection, and 3) flawlessly handle a slew of other obstacles.
Bottom line: Role-playing really can help you raise more money. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Role-playing builds your confidence.
When you and your team role-play, you can throw any number of situations at each other. The person playing the prospect/donor can invent a variety of donor objections that you as the fundraiser need to respond to. Role-playing provides a safe environment to encounter these scenarios for the first time, which builds team members’ confidence and helps them execute their day-to-day tasks.
2. Role-playing helps develop listening skills.
Good role-playing requires good listening. How handy that good fundraising also requires good listening skills! In addition to understanding the words the other person is saying, it’s important to pay attention to body language and non-verbal clues. Better to have your team develop these skills while role-playing than when they’re trying to perform with a real, live donor.
3. Role-playing fosters creative problem-solving.
No matter how outlandish a situation you create in a controlled environment, there’s no predicting what might happen during a real donor visit. Role-playing will at least give your team the chance to get some experience in handling difficult situations and in developing creative problem-solving skills.
Final thought: If you are a one-person development department in need of someone to practice with, try enlisting another non-development staffer, a board member or another volunteer. And keep in mind that role-playing donor meetings can be a great board or development committee activity.
For more tips on preparing for meetings with your prospects and donors, check out How to Rock Your Next Donor Meeting.
What are your thoughts on role-playing? Do you practice role-playing at your organization? Please share your thoughts, tips and advice in the Comments box below!
Special gift for you: Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, a step-by-step guide, is available here (click).