Making the Ask: Third Point in a Cycle of Life-Long Giving—Part 2

A Four-Stage Plan for Major Donor Cultivation for the Annual FundDavid A. Mersky image

When people think about making the ask or engaging another to do a solicitation for the organization on whose board they sit, they procrastinate most often when they contemplate making an appointment to meet face-to-face, the only way substantial money is ever raised. After that, when they are face-to-face, most people fear the prospective donor’s objections to the request to contribute.

In fact, research has shown that:

  • 44 per cent of all solicitors gave up after they heard first objection.
  • 22 per cent gave up after the second objection.
  • 16 per cent gave up after the third objection
  • 10 per cent gave up after the fourth objection

The same research established that 73 per cent of all donors voiced five or more objections before being sure enough to make a gift!

In order to succeed as a solicitor, then, all one needs to do is stay in the game, welcome the objections that a prospect may have and manage to overturn them.

There are four key steps to managing objections

  1. Clarify what the prospect is saying and be sure that you understand exactly what the person is saying.
  2. Acknowledge that you heard what the prospect is saying by repeating what the person said—even using their exact same formulation.
  3. Resume making the case for the gift now focused like a laser only on the objection that the prospect has raised. And, finally,
  4. Close again, this time restating the gift in a different form—as an annual, quarterly or a monthly amount.

While using these four tactics for managing objections, do not become argumentative. After acknowledging and responding to each objection, close again. Restate the gift and wait quietly for a response—ready for the next objection or a commitment.

As the solicitor, you should always seek to end the meeting with an agreement. If you do not achieve a commitment to give on the part of the prospect, at least agree to continue the conversation and set a time and place for your next meeting.

On the other hand, if a final gift decision has been made by the prospect, then restate the gift so the donor can hear you confirm the amount. Say thank you and congratulate the donors.

Everyone should feel great about the shared accomplishment.

Next Month: A Four Stage Plan for the Annual Fund— Fourth Point in a Cycle of Life-Long Giving–Leveraging the Donor

Previous articles in the series include:

A Strong Leadership Team—Elements of Organizational Success– Part 1

The Development Cycle

A Four Stage Plan for the Annual Fund