Has this happened to you lately?
You’re sitting at your desk trying to schedule visits with some of your campaign prospects.
You’ve allocated time this morning to get on the phone and set up some appointments with some of your key supporters.
You want to visit with them in person.
Because you know that face-to-face visits are the most important cultivation tool available to you.
But you find that it’s not quite as easy as you wish it would be!
Getting the Runaround?
So you get on the phone, cheerfully calling and asking for a few precious minutes of your wonderful donor’s time.
And this is what you get, over and over:
- “I’m too busy to meet with you – call me later.”
- “I love your organization and I’m supporting you guys. Since I’m already giving. Spend your time on someone else. And call me after I get back from my next trip.”
It’s so frustrating!!
How on earth are you going to cultivate this donor if you can’t get in the door to see her?
There goes your goal for your campaign warm up visits this month — and next month.
It’s particularly discouraging when donors you know personally won’t give you an appointment.
Those are the ones who will cut you off quickly because they know you, and they probably see you often.
So it’s even harder to get them alone to chat privately.
The Key to Getting in the Door
So what’s the key to getting your foot in the door?
Simple… ask for advice.
You probably know one of my favorite sayings:
“If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, then ask for money.”
I’ve written extensively about the power of advice visits:
- How Advice Visits Can Open Any Door in Town
- Three Rules for Successful Advice Visits
- Questions to Ask in an Advice Visit
You can call the donor and say, “I have an idea up my sleeve and I want to bounce it off you.”
Or try, “We are moving ahead with our campaign strategy and I’d love your input on it.”
People Love to Share Advice
If the donor knows she gets to do the talking, then she’ll visit with you.
Also, many major donors understand capital campaign strategy. And they find it really interesting to discuss.
Of course, while you’re talking strategy, you are also conducting LOTS of excellent reconnaissance about this particular prospective donor.
You’re finding out their temperament, their personal timetable, their level of interest in this aspect of the campaign, their enthusiasm for your organization. (Are they sitting on the edge of their seats, or are they relaxing back in their chair?)
Remember, fundraising is NOT about you.
It’s actually about engaging the donor, pulling the donor out, finding out what turns your donor on, and fanning that flame of whatever passion they have.
Lessons on the Power of an Advice Visit
One of my client’s told me, “I received an unsolicited $10,000 challenge gift in an advice visit!”
Another colleague and client, Linda Frenette, Executive Director of the Community Music School in Raleigh, wrote me recently with this amazing story:
“I had an “advice visit” today with a very prominent woman in the community who on the spot offered a $10,000 challenge grant!!
“What’s even more amazing is that she would not even schedule the meeting until she told me and my board member that her foundation had no money to give us!”
The Bottom Line: Engage Your Donors
Donors are tired of being “presented to.” They want to engage with you, not listen to your verbiage.
Try using Advice Visits with all your campaign prospects! They work!
I have raised a TON of money with this approach.
Even if you are a small organization, short on time, hamstrung by conflicting demands, you can still land major gifts — you just have to be focused and organized.
Want More Material on this Advice Visit Approach?
For tons of templates, worksheets and a detailed agenda, click here and grab them from gailperry.com.
How have you used this strategy? How has it worked for you? Share your story in the comments.