Thanks for joining my series on major gift development. In previous episodes, I covered the definition of a major gift, discussed why a major giving program is the most important piece of your overall fundraising strategy, and the development of a major giving cultivation plan. Now we are poised to discuss the issue of solicitation readiness and preparation for the solicitation.
I am often asked, “How do I know if my prospect is ready to be solicited?” To which I typically respond, “If you are not sure, your prospect is probably not ready!” Why? Because
What types of questions should you be able to answer BEFORE you solicit?
- What is the prospect’s relationship to the organization?
- Who, within the organization, holds the closest relationship to the donor/prospect? Who is the best person to solicit?
- What program or aspect of our services resonates most with this prospect, i.e. – do we know what they like about us?
- Is this person part of a family foundation or is there potential for a family gift?
- Does this person seek deeper involvement within the organization (volunteer opportunities, committee or board membership?)
- What other organizations do they support, at what level and why?
- Should this person’s spouse or partner be part of the conversation? Who (of the two) might our programs and services appeal to most?
- Have we met at least once, but preferably more frequently, with this prospect prior to solicitation? What did we learn during these meetings?
- Have they asked for more information and have we provided it to them?
- Have we discussed the possibility of a gift?
If your organization can answer all, or even most of these questions, it is likely that you are ready to solicit.
Preparing for the Solicitation
Once you have positively assessed readiness, it is time to prepare for the solicitation. Additional questions and issues to consider at this stage include:
Next week we will continue the conversation about solicitation readiness and cover all aspects of a solicitation visit, including the content of the meeting, presenting the case, involving the prospect in the conversation, dealing with objections and asking for the gift. I hope you will join me! In the meantime, feel free to share thoughts and questions about major gifts cultivation below, and please contact us with any questions about your campaign, and enjoy this week’s freebie! We hope this solicitation planning worksheet helps to organize your data and your thinking about your next ask.