Do you ever find yourself delaying a call or a meeting with a donor because you don’t have your talking points lined up? You don’t have the conversation mapped out so you’re not feeling confident?
It’s not unusual. And, by the way, this could be a reason your board members aren’t out talking with donors!
Uncertainty is a great excuse we all use to NOT do something. But for those of us in the business of cultivating relationships, uncertainty does not have to be a liability; it can be an OPPORTUNITY.
Try thinking in terms of opportunity.
And when a donor asks a question that you can’t answer in the moment, use these magic words: I’LL GET BACK TO YOU.
Does using this phrase make you look underprepared or uninformed? No! Donors don’t expect you to hold every program detail and data point in your head. And they probably don’t want you to either as this could set them up for the kind of conversations donors hate—conversations where we unleash a stream of facts and figures upon them.
“I’ll get back to you” has a far more valuable and positive effect—it tees up an opportunity for you to have a more detailed, follow-up conversation with your donor about the information she requested.
More conversation = more cultivation = moving your relationship forward. It’s a win-win!
Am I saying that you should arrive unprepared for your next coffee meeting, and just wing your way through it? Absolutely not. On the contrary, it’s wise to have a few key stories practiced and ready to share when the opportunity arises. Stories such as:
Your personal story of why you are involved with your organization.
Your case for support. No need to get too complex, but you should be able to speak to two basic questions in your own words: “Why us?” and “Why now?”
The impact of a gift – For many of us, the most natural and effective way to share this information is through a client story, or a new program story. Of all the communication strategies in our toolbox, you’ll never go wrong with telling stories.
If your donor asks for more than this, remember those magic words: I’ll get back to you. And then, by all means, do so.
How do you handle questions from donors you can’t answer confidently in the moment? Do you have advice to share with other readers? Please share your thoughts or experience in the Comments box below!
My special gift for you, Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, a step-by-step guide, is available here (click).