What’s more effective: getting an intro to a donor, or going in cold?
Getting an intro, of course (no, that wasn’t a trick question). 10x more effective, in fact.
It’s getting the intro itself that’s the hard part. You rack up the courage to ask one donor to connect you with another - and they politely give you one hundred and one reasons why they simply can’t.
That’s why I’m excited to share this little tip:
Don’t ask for an intro. Ask for advice.
You’re trying to get in with mega-philanthropist Jeff Cohen. Jeff Cohen happens to be a good friend of your current donor, Jonathan Levy.
You want to ask Jonathan to make an intro. But you don’t. Instead, you pick up the phone and say…
“Hi, Jonathan. Can I ask you for some advice?”
People love giving advice. Jonathan will probably say, “Sure.”
So you say, “I’ve heard you’re a good friend of Jeff Cohen. I’d love to have a chat with him because I think that, like you, he would very much connect to our vision. Obviously, though, I don’t want to cold call him... Based on your knowledge of him, how would you suggest I approach him?”
At this point, of course, Jonathan might say, “Oh, I can make an intro for you.” And then you can put down the phone, say, “Well, that was easy BH!,” and have a little l’chayim.
But he might also say something like, “Just email him.”
If he suggests email, you have another opportunity: ask him if you could use his name in your email so the outreach isn’t totally cold.
Since he’ll probably agree, go ahead and write a subject line like: “Jeff, Jonathan Levy suggested I email you to say…”
And then Jeff, for his part, will most probably open the email, because he’ll want to know what his friend has been saying.
The moment you see even a bit of success in getting through to Jeff, of course, let Jonathan know. Showing your appreciation will up the chances he’ll want to do this again for you.
In fundraising, we have what’s called the ABC rule - Always Be Connecting. A good start? Making sure to ask for at least one intro every week.
Of course, you don’t want to wing these intros. Do some thorough research on your would-be prospect so you know you’re presenting the donor who’ll introduce you with a good chance of success.
Then, skip the asking-for-an-intro part. Just ask for your donor’s advice.
And don’t forget to let me know how smoothly things go from there!