Jerold Panas was one of the top practitioners, consultants and trainers in fundraising and philanthropy in the world.
Here are his “17 Golden Rules For Asking For A Gift.” - edited slightly for leaders of Mosdos Torah - to add more finesse to your efforts.
- Know everything possible about your organization. Be crystal clear in your mission and vision, programs and impact.
- Make certain, in your heart-of-hearts, you’re completely committed to the worthwhileness of your cause and the significance of your project.
- Learn everything you can about the probable donor you’re calling on.
- Determine a specific amount you should ask for. This is after a careful assessment. Do not ask for a range— give a specific amount.
- Give thought as to how to express the amount of your request. Say it out loud several times before your visit. It will build your confidence.
- Now you’re ready to get the appointment. If you get the visit, you’re 85% toward securing the gift. (Getting the appointment is harder than getting the gift.)
- Practice, practice, practice. I still write out what I’m going to say.
- Write out in advance all the reasons your probable donor may put you off. Practice how to respond.
- When you make the visit, go in pairs. A colleague or board member or significant donor is a magic partnership.
- Call on your best probable donors first.
- Establish rapport in your early moments with the probable donor.
- It’s essential you probe for concerns. Ask questions. Listen 75% of the time. Talk 25%.
- Convey the benefit to the donor. It has to be a “win-win” for the institution and the donor.
- Remember: It’s not about money and it’s not about your organization. It’s entirely about the mission and the people who are served.
- When you’re finally ready to ask for the gift, use words such as: “I would like you to consider a gift of…”
- Don’t let objections rattle you. They are your best friends. Probe for concerns.
- You cannot leave a meeting without getting a commitment to something— either the gift or a date for another visit.
Each of these rules are real gems. Take a score of how many are currently part of your fundraising.
Score yourself again in 6 months time - to see how much you've advanced - and check your fundraising bottom line. It should have increased.
Have a great week. B'hatzlacha raba raba.