This is #3 in our series on Major Gift Fundraising in 2022 :

Let’s talk about how to save time and still raise transformational gifts for your institution.

  • People ask us: Don’t donor relationships take a long, long time to develop?
  • Board members and CEOs ask us: How much time do we need to spend cultivating before we can ask?

And everyone wants a rule of thumb. What’s the right pace with a major donor?

Above all, you don’t want to rush an ask. 

Here’s why: If you make the donor feel rushed, or pitched to, or pressed, then you are shooting yourself in the foot. Making the donor feel like an ATM means that you’ll ruin your relationship. Then you are nowhere. Your donor has a yucky feeling – and so do you.

So how can you save time, but not rush your donor?

There’s an easy answer to this time-honored question: Just ask your donor how they feel and what they think. 

 As I mentioned yesterday, your donor will tell you where they stand, if you just ask.

Whoops, you may be saying – this feels like pressure. It feels like you’re telling me to be pushy.

Not at all.

There is a way to be completely polite while you are asking your donor to tell you about their interest in your mission and work.

In fact, your donor may have tons to say! She may go on and on about how she feels about your organization’s work. She may share memories, family history, deep personal experiences, loves, passions, connections.

Don’t get stuck in endless chit-chat. 

You just have to know the questions to ask. Start by asking for her story. Then ask about the projects she is most interested in and why.

Then ask her if she would like to get more involved. Or ask her if she’d like to know how she can help in a bigger way.

We call this approach a Direct Conversation. 

It’s one of the key skills we teach as part of the Discovery Call Playbook in our Major Gifts Intensive program. It’s all based on one important (secret) ingredient: Asking for Permission.

You never move more quickly than your donor wants to go. You ask her if she’d like to share this or talk about that. She feels in charge of the conversation.

 And you are all about the donor at all times.

Like Cristina, who was in the Major Gifts Intensive last year, said, “I knew the questions to ask.” And it was smart Cristina who turned a $1,000 thank you phone call into a $100,000 gift from a happy donor.

2022 Major Gifts Intensive

 Our 2022 Major Gifts Intensive is open for registration right now, closing out on February 24th.

If you and your team want to learn these advanced discovery, qualification, and gift closing skills in a hands-on, personal coaching context, then join us this year.

You’ll learn how to save time, qualify your donors quickly, AND focus on the right prospects who do want to give and make a big difference.

And most of all, you’ll raise some 5, 6, and 7 figure gifts quickly. That should make everyone happy!