Soliciting Major Gifts

Here comes the hard part – asking for the money.

You have gone through all of the past steps.

  1. You have identified your major gift prospects.
  2. You have done your research on them.
  3. You have established contact with them.

All of your conversations and letters have been positive. And now you have successfully set up a personal visit.  It is time to ask for a major gift.

What do you do now?

Don’t panic.

Remember to treat your visit like it was an old friend. Or a cousin you haven’t see for several years.

  1. Be attentive
  2. Ask questions
  3. Listen
  4. Engage.
  5. Tell good stories, relating to your charity

At some point in the conversation, you will find an appropriate moment.  I don’t know if this will be 45 minutes into a meeting, or 4 minutes.  But you will know.

There comes a point when you need to steel your nerves and make the ask.

Because the thing is, by this point, you have already done all of the hard work.

You have researched the prospect, you have made contact with them.  You were able to get a meeting.  That is the hard part.

They should know that you are here to ask for funding.  You are a fundraiser, after all.

But they might not.

Regardless, make the ask.  Say something like – “I am here today to ask you to consider a commitment of $10,000 for this fiscal year…”

And after that, don’t say another word.

Let them speak next.  For however long it takes.  Let them speak next.

They could say no.  They could say “let me consider it.”

But it is also very possible that they say yes.

And you will never know if you don’t ask.

Regret has a longer memory than fear.


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