Happy Weekend! We thought you’d be interested in this topic today. And if you are interested in closing more major and principal gifts, then we have a great guide today for you to save time. 

It’s about all the time we waste cultivating donors. To us, it’s so frustrating to nurture a donor who never comes through with a gift. 

We have all been there. This particular donor loves all the attention, attends all our events, and enjoys our nice dinners. But they never make the gift that we surely think they will. 

You’ve probably been here as well. Have you ever spent months and months, even years, before you manage to get the donor into an ask conversation? 

How about all that time you are spent cultivating your donor? Is it wasted? Could you have moved more quickly?  Would your donor have been willing to give sooner??

How can you know? 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to move to an ask conversation more quickly? How nice would it feel to be able to find out early in the game if your donor wants to help NOW rather than later? 

It really is possible to find out where your donor stands.

 You just have to ask. But you have to ask skillfully. 

We’ve developed a cultivation process that we call the Skillful Conversation. It’s like a roadmap that guides you to find out what you need to know– and get the ask on the table as soon as possible so you can save time.

What’s more, it’s extremely polite and donor-centered.  This conversation process is never, ever pushy. (We’re southern, remember?) 

With the Skillful Conversation process, you’re never directly asking for a gift. You are oblique, inquiring, playing sleuth.

In our upcoming Major Gifts Intensive program, we’ll be training and coaching our members on how to implement the Skillful Conversation process. What’s more, we’ll be teaching them five different ways to get to an Ask Conversation. If you’d like to join us, check out the program here.  Applications close Feb 24th so schedule your call with us quickly!  

What you are really doing is simply finding out what’s on your donor’s mind. 

You can easily ask your donor:  

“How interested are you in our cause and our organization’s work?”

What resonates most with you about our work?”

“Would you like to  know how you can help?”

These are such important questions! But so few fundraisers get around to asking about the important stuff. We are all too busy wining, dining and cultivating our donors. 

The end result – we postpone important conversations to the back burner. We beat around the bush, because we just don’t know what to say.  

Sometimes we probably feel awkward, a little nervous, and don’t want to appear pushy. We don’t want to sacrifice our relationship by asking too soon or too quickly – because we know that strategy can certainly backfire! 

Never assume. 

This is one of the great rules of fundraising – don’t assume you know what your donor wants to do, or when they want to do it. 

You can easily find out if your donor is ready to give now vs later. Don’t assume. Just ask. 

Ask them if they’d like to talk about supporting your organization. Or ask them if this is a good time to chat about support. 

It’s all based in permission. Step-by-step, you are asking your donor if they are interested in finding out this or that, or if they want to explore this or that. 

You can relax – just keep asking questions, and your donor feels like she’s in charge. 

Bottom Line: She who asks the questions, controls the conversation.

These tips today can take you right down the pathway to a major, principal and/or transformational gift. Don’t forget to use the Skillful Conversation process. Be polite, donor-centered, and gracious. Ask your donor directly how they feel and what they want to do.

Your fundraising totals will certainly go up! And you’ll save time. Remember the climate is excellent for major gifts right now. Donors are giving. Don’t shy away! 

P.S. Major Gifts Intensive 2021 is open for applications!

Would you like: 

  • A systematic, proven major gifts training and coaching program to expand your team’s success? 
  • To learn permission-based asking techniques that can close transformational gifts? 

The Major Gifts Intensive will help you lay down the systems, mindset, vision, structure and processes for a long-term productive major gift program that will deliver measurable results for years.

We’ll share the core highly successful strategies that we’ve taught thousands of people since 2000, from community organizations to the largest universities.

Find out more here.