Three Rules for Successful Advice Visits


Do you want to have successful Advice Visits? Here’s how this strategy can support your major gift and capital campaign fundraising.  We think Advice Visits can be a golden key to opening any donor or potential donor’s heart to your cause.

We have used Advice Visits time and time again.  They are based on the old adage:

“If you want money, ask for advice.

If you want advice, ask for money.”

Rule One: Make Sure the Person You Visit Does as Much of the Talking as Possible

You are after their advice and thinking. Only tell them enough about your project to keep him interested.

The important points are to share your personal passion and excitement for the cause and why you are personally involved.

As you tell your person about your cause and seek their advice and input, you should be watching carefully for their reaction.

If your prospect seems to not be very interested in your cause, then you should not drag on. Even more, if you are perceived as boring or droning on and on, you will never be welcomed back! It’s always important to  make sure you are interesting, not boring.

The kiss of death for any fundraiser is to be boring. And the best way to be boring is to talk too much.

You are the one listening, not talking!

Rule Two: Ask for a Short Appointment and Leave at the End of That Time

Always practice good manners and get up to leave when you said you would.  If your prospect is on a roll, talking and talking, and asks you to stay, then do so.

But never overstay your welcome.

When you are an important, extremely busy person, nothing is worse than a well-meaning visitor who stays forever.

However, if you are interesting and keep the meeting short, then your prospect will be much more likely to see you again when you ask for another visit.

It is even good to end the meeting deliberately when the person is not quite finished talking, even if he has warmed to the topic and has plenty more to say.

Then, when you call for a follow-up visit, he will be happy, even eager to visit with you again, because he has more to say and knows you will keep him too long.

Rule Three for Successful Advice Visits: Don’t Make an Ask

Many nonprofit it supporters think they need to do a “pitch” when they have this visit. They got in the door or on zoom, and they think this is their big chance to make an pitch

A pitch is the last thing you should do. It will ruin everything.

Instead, you should be quiet and listen. Remember, the more your donor mulls about your cause and your issue, the more interested they will become. On the other hand, if you make a presentation and your donor just sits there passively, they are not engaging with you. Since your goal is to get your donor thinking and talking about your organization and its challenge, then by all means, let them talk.

People will offer to do so many things for you!

If they suggest a prominent person in the community whom you should approach, then always ask them if they will help open the door to that person.

That way you will not be making a cold call; this influential person will be helping to make the introduction, in effect, blessing you and your cause.

Bottom Line: Rules for Successful Advice Visits

When you are all about the donor, and encouraging their interest in your organizations work, you are successfully moving the relationship forward.