“How exactly should you or your ministry representative actually go about presenting the organization’s case to a donor and asking for the donation? After years of working with major donors, we have come to believe strongly in a four-phase approach to major donors: acknowledgment, trust building, presenting the case for support, and the ask. The sequence is important. Most significantly, these phases keep the donor’s needs, interests, and values in view at all times.
Phase 1: acknowledgement. The foundation of your relationship with a donor, like the foundation of your relationship with any friend, is what we call ‘acknowledgement.’ In your interactions with this person, you acknowledge his value as a human being by giving attention to his life, his activities, his opinions, his values. You also acknowledge a donor’s generosity. Affirm the role he has already played in the ministry. Gratitude and appreciation are core to the relationship. You also need to acknowledge that the donor’s time is valuable. It’s a sacrifice for a donor with significant resources to take time out for interaction with you or a ministry rep. When you send a message of genuine thanks for the donor’s time, you begin to build credibility with him.”
* Like what you just read and want to learn more? Check out, Donors Are People Too: Managing Relationships With Your Ministry’s Major Contributors.