Image of a chicken 3 Things to Make Asking Easier (it's not paying the chicken)

Don’t be chicken about asking!

This is the time of the year to be asking people for money.

Based on conversations with clients from around the world, December 31 is a powerful motivator for people’s giving. As I’ve been telling my Fundraising Kick members, you need to be out asking people between now and December 31! (Click here to tweet that.)

Here are three things you can do to make your next face-to-face appointment easier.

  1. Set up the appointment correctly

    I’ve previously detailed 7 steps for setting up a major gift solicitation appointment. A huge part of doing this right is telling the prospect that you want to talk to them about “your project” or “new developments” or “the project.”

    Letting prospects know specifically that this isn’t just a “let’s hang out” visit will help you enormously in the solicitation.

  2. Let the prospect speak

    One of the biggest mistakes CEO’s and board members make in preparing for a solicitation is seeking the “perfect pitch” to give. They ask me for the phrases that make people give. And what the ideal timing is between different stages in the pitch.

    Much of that is baloney.

    There are a few things you can do to set the right tone for a solicitation: get the prospect to say “yes” a few times, not meeting at a distracted location like a restaurant, and being clear when setting the appointment that you’ll be addressing their support.

    But the largest part of the solicitation is shutting up. The 2 best times to shut up are:

    • When you first meet: let them talk about themselves! People are fascinating and have terrific stories to tell. And if you’ve set the appointment up well, they’ll get to a point where they say, “Well, what did you want to see me about?”
    • When you’ve made the ask: you need to shut up and let the prospect process. They’ll let you know they’re done processing by…being the first to speak!
  3. Practice the “ask” before you get there

    I recommend each of my clients ask donor prospects for the entire gift, not the payment amounts. I’d rather have a prospect hear “$100,000” rather than “$20,000 a year for five years.” Most people find it difficult to do math on the fly. Why make your prospect feel dumb? Just ask for the total amount.

    Even if it’s “$1000” ask for that. Then, when they’re done processing the ask, you can share, “You know, $1000/year is really only $84/month, like a cell phone or cable bill.”

Ask now, plan out 2014 later

Studies show 30% to over 50% of giving happens in November and December. Don’t miss this season. If you want to coast, and enjoy the holidays, you’re in the wrong business.

Get out there and ask!

If you want more on making the most of a solicitation, check out my post 5 Things Not to do at Your Next Major Gift Solicitation. And if you want a weekly Kick to get you out the door asking for money, check out Fundraising Kick emails.

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