The key factor for any major gift solicitation is communication. If the donor doesn’t get a clear picture of your organization’s mission, they won’t commit the big dollars.
Communication is king, and it’s not just verbal communication that matters.
In his book “Major Gifts: Solicitation Strategies,” Richard E. Matheny stressed that every form of communication matters when it comes to securing a major gift. He listed 10 tips that will help you communicate better when soliciting for major gifts:
- Develop a clear statement of purpose: If you don’t know what you want, how will you expect the prospect to know?
- Understand the prospect’s frame of reference: You are not required to agree with the prospect’s views, but you should understand the references that frame them.
- Determine the prospect’s mental set: How do the development officer and the prospect see each other?
- Ask open-ended questions: Asking questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” will prevent any meaningful discussions.
- Separate facts from inference: Making an inference about a prospect without verifying it can be dangerous. Know your facts before you judge.
- Avoid faulty grammar: Grammar still matters. Make sure you present a professional image with your language.
- Avoid jargon: Don’t assume the prospect knows what you are talking about when you use industry language. Use words you know they will understand.
- Monitor nonverbal communication: A lot can be said with a simple hand gesture or crossed arms.
- Stay in the information-seeking mode: Don’t skip out on listening to make a prepared pitch.
- Develop a list of exit responsibilities: At the end of the face-to-face contact with the prospect, you should agree on who will do what to facilitate the gift process.