We need to meet with donors. Face to face is the most effective form of fundraising. We know that, but sometimes donors are a little hesitant. If we haven’t formed a relationship already, it’s hard to get in the door that first time.
So what are some things you can do to help with that? How can you make that a little easier? The first thing, and my biggest recommendation, is to alleviate fears. You need to alleviate fears. So what are they afraid of? Well, first and foremost, I think they’re afraid of time, not money, time. Time is precious. They’re just afraid you’re going to take up their whole day.
So I will say things like, “Do you have 20 minutes for a quick update?” or “Can I get on your calendar for a half hour?” or “Can we grab a quick cup of coffee to go?.” These phrases all alleviate that first fear by showing them that I will be respectful of their time.
Their next biggest fear is money. They’re afraid you’re going to come in, right after they just gave $500, and now you’re going to ask them for $5,000.
Well, chances are you’re not even going to ask them for anything. You just want to meet them, hear their story, and figure out what they’re passionate about — especially on a first time visit. So say that! Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not going to ask you for anything. I just want to get to know you.” or “I want to meet you and hear your story.” or “I’d love to hear why you’re so passionate about helping kids, etc.”
One other thing you can do to help donors say yes to a donor visit is to ask for advice. Simply say, “I’d love to meet with you because we’re taking a closer look at how we fundraise, and we need some feedback from loyal supporters like you. Could you spare 20 minutes of your time to have a quick cup of coffee with me?.” The old fundraising adage is certainly true: if you ask for money, you’ll get advice … if you ask for advice, you’ll get money.