If you’re a fundraiser who wonders when the right time is to ask a prospect to make a gift, here’s your answer: Now! You should always be asking for something, either financial or non-financial.
Here are some examples:
Networking Contacts - (“Who else do you know that might be interested in what we do?”)
Ideas and Insights - (“Do you have any suggestions or thoughts about our work that you would like for us to consider?”)
Technical Skills - (“There is an issue we’ve been trying to address—maybe you’d have some advice for us or be able to connect us to someone with the proper expertise.”)
Organizational Resources - (“Are there people or departments in your company that would be interested in getting involved with our work?”)
Time and Talent - (“Can I sign you up to participate in our next volunteer training session?”)
Leadership - (“Would you be interested in a role on our board, our advisory group, or some other part of our team?”)
Follow-up Meeting - (“This has been a great conversation; can we get together again to talk more about some of what we began to discuss today?”)
There are many possibilities and they’re limited only by your imagination.
Maybe you’ll ask your prospect to host a dinner or to introduce you to someone you’ve been wanting to meet. Maybe you’ll ask for a website endorsement. Maybe you’ll invite some suggestions about how to improve your communication efforts or some advice about a project you’re thinking of announcing.
The point is to get in the habit of asking for something. It builds confidence when the time comes to ask for a financial donation. It also creates a natural opportunity to follow-up with your new partner in a few weeks. Finally, it establishes a bond between the two of you that makes each additional meeting or conversation feel easier and more natural.
Do you have any suggestions to add to the list above?