While at the gym the other day I overheard a woman ask a teenager on the treadmill next to her if she had an extra hairband, mentioning that she had left hers at home. They didn’t know each other but the teenager had one around her wrist that she offered up. The woman took it, thanked her, and then said, “are you sure?”
This made no sense to me:
- Why would you ask if someone was sure AFTER they offered up the item?
- Teenagers do not give up what they do not want to give up. Ask any parent who tries to get them to put down a cell phone.
But, it did remind me of the type of conversations I hear in solicitations and solicitation trainings. Let me remind you of two facts:
- People will not give you money that they do not want to give.
- Once they offer a gift be thankful for the gift and move on. Do not question their gift or their intentions (you can question payment options like whether it is a pledge vs gift, timing and recognition options).
Solicitors are often worried that someone will give a gift out of guilt or obligation, if that is the reason they are giving, it will be a low-level gift. This is not where their passion lies or they do not think this nonprofit is a good investment. Be thankful for the gift and move on.
In other words, do not project your insecurities onto the donor. Instead, be positive. Share how amazing you felt when you heard your gift was helping give access to more teen programming or helping more families get food this month. Share why you prioritize this nonprofit over the three others you also support, and why you are willing to go outside your comfort zone to solicit gifts. That will help everyone leave the solicitation feeling good. And that is something you can both be thankful for.
If you’re curious about how to “move on,” consider the various ways you will acknowledge the donor – click here for some 16 ideas.