title="STOP by Forrest August, on FlickrEven if you’re working through the steps of the Ask Without Fear! system, asking for a major gift can be challenging.

Here are 5 things you definitely want to avoid on your next major gift solicitation visit!

5 Things Not to Do When Asking for a Major Gift

  1. Be late

    Seriously, you’ve already scheduled your major gift appointment. There’s no excuse for being late. If you’re flying, fly in the night before.

  2. Say “no thanks”

    If the prospect offers you something to eat or drink, try to do all you can to say “yes.” They’re just being hospitable. If nothing else, take a glass of water. For a coffee nerd like me, this means I need to drink awful coffee fairly regularly so I don’t grimace in front of the prospect.

    More importantly, books like Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive share studies that show you if you get people saying “yes” to things during the meeting, they’re more likely to agree with you when you ask for the gift. So why start your meeting with a “no”?

  3. Be a Ned

    Remember Ned, the stereotypical insurance salesman from the movie “Groundhog Day”? Don’t be a Ned. A major gift appointment isn’t about a schpeal. It’s a discussion you’re continuing. It’s as important to listen in your visit as to talk. More importantly, actually.

  4. Meet over a meal

    This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. But in my experience, waiters and waitresses have an annoying habit of checking the table at exactly the wrong time. And there’s the embarrassing dance around paying the check. (Here’s a freebie: if you set the appointment, you pay the check!)

  5. Forget to ask!

    Seriously, we have an amazing way of talking ourselves out of asking! We tell ourselves lies like “The timing isn’t right.” Fortunately, if you set up the solicitation appointment correctly, the prospect will actually bring the ask up for you by saying something like, “Well, now what was it you wanted to talk about?” This can be a lifesaver, getting your visit back on track!

What would you add

Those are five things I recommend you avoid. What would you add?

Tell us in the comments below!

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