4 Easy Ways to Get The Appointment with a Major Gift Prospect

Don’t you just love asking potential donors for appointments? Or do you hate it?phone call image

If you dislike this step in the major gift process, you are not alone.

People often tell me that trying to get an appointment can be the worst part of fundraising to them.

Folks say they feel pushy and inauthentic.

Or presumptuous (“why would they want to meet with little old me?”)

Listen, my friend.

Your cause is too urgent and the situation you are tackling is too dire for you to hold back!

Let’s re-frame this step and make it easy – even seamless – for you.

Your prospect may be wildly passionate about your cause – and you don’t know it!

You have to remember this above all: if someone is already giving to your organization, then they are probably really, really interested in you.

In fact, they might even be absolutely crazy for your cause.

For myself – I have some causes that I simply LOVE. Don’t you?

I’m an easy touch if a fundraiser calls from one of these causes.

What about you? There are maybe 3-4 top causes that really matter to you. Right?

So your donor ALSO has some causes really close to her heart. Maybe it is YOUR cause!

You never know, do you!

Don’t sell yourself short my friend!

Here are some easy, organic scenarios for getting that a meeting:

1. See your donor at an event and ask her for a quick visit.

You run into your donor at the grocery store, on the golf course, or the coffee shop or at your gala. You say,

“I’ve been thinking of calling you – have an idea I wanted to run by you.”  

Why would your donor agree to meet?

  • She is curious about your idea.
  • She loves your cause.
  • Her experience with you is that you are a charming, nice person to spend time with.
  • She’s flattered that you want her perspective.

2. Call your donor/prospect on the phone and ask:

“You have been a donor all this time. I’d love to know why you are interested in our organization. I’d love to hear your story.”

Why would your donor agree to meet?

  • He is thrilled and amazed that someone even noticed that he had been giving a long time.
  • He would LOVE to share his story.
  • Your organization has deeply impacted his life.
  • Your donor LOVES your cause, because it is so very personally meaningful to him.

3. You meet a major gift prospect at an event, for the first time.

You say,

Mr.  Jones, it is so nice to meet you! How did you come to be here at our event?

You generate a conversation. You find out his hot buttons about your cause. Then

You ask your donor if he would like to have an INSIDERS tour of your organization – to see the work that you do in his area of interest.

Why would this donor agree to meet?

  • He really wants to hear more about his area of interest.
  • He is grateful and excited to learn more.
  • He has a perspective that he wants to share with you.

4. You meet a cold prospect who is a mega philanthropist in your community.

And you say,

Ms. Fletcher, thank you for all you do for our community. My organization is xxxxx nonprofit. We are thinking about launching a new initiative to do xxxxx in our community.

I would so appreciate it if I could run it by you and get your perspective. I would really value your opinion.

Why would this donor agree to meet?

  • You flattered her by asking for her input and advice.
  • She does have some opinions and a perspective she wants to share with you.
  • She may be curious about what you are up to.
  • As a community leader, she likes to know what is going on!


Change your attitude! Think positive.

Treat your prospect politely and let them think that THEY are going to do the talking!

Leave a comment and share YOUR favorite way to get the appointment!