After my last post regarding my frustrations with impersonal asks from my graduate school, let me give you a couple of personal examples of really good solicitations.
Last year, a representative from my sorority’s foundation contacted me. She was coming to Seattle and wanted to meet me while in she was in town to let me know about a great new program they have. I’ve been a regular, though unspectacular, donor and have always intended to get more involved with the organization. When I met the rep for coffee, I was surprised at how much research she had done on me; I didn’t realize I had been flagged as a donor prospect worthy of a personal visit. I was so flattered and pleased to be considered in this new “young donor/go-getter” category, that not only did I make a five-year pledge to the foundation (my largest gift to anyone ever), but I volunteered to plan an event for other young donors in the near future and invite all my alumna friends. Well, look at that – now I’m engaged on several levels.
Last week, I received a call from a local children’s theater asking me to give to their scholarship program. The caller was informed, friendly, and persuasive. He knew that I was a season ticket holder and asked me my opinion on the four plays I’d seen with my son. He also knew that my son had attended winter break camp at the theater and thanked us for getting involved in the education programs – and from there he moved smoothly into explaining why my support of the scholarship program would allow other children access to plays and educational programs. Would I consider a gift of X? I hesitated – it was more than I wanted to give right now. He countered with would I give half today and the remainder in equal payments over the next two months? Could he charge my credit card that they conveniently have on file? Can he send me a voucher for two tickets to their currently showing play to thank me? When you put it that way, yes, yes, and yes. He got his gift when they needed it; I feel good about helping other kids experience live theater, and my son and I are seeing an extra play this weekend!
I understand there are statistics and data to consider and relationships to carefully be cultivated, but if you make your donor feel relevant and special they’ll give to you. It worked on me.
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About the Author
Dana Van Nest
Dana is Collins’ go-to person for connecting with potential clients, overseeing all our communications strategies, and maintaining strong relationships with professional associations and industry colleagues.