The more you stress your prospect, the more demands you make upon them, the more likely they are bail on you. Here are some tips on how to keep ‘em sweet.
“Don’t Make Me Think!”
Whether we’re talking about one-on-one meetings between you and the potential donor, the manner you describe gift plans in your newsletters, or the navigation on your planned giving website, keep it simple. It’s in your own interest gradually to spoon-feed them easy-to-“get” amounts of data. Anticipate confusions and questions and head them off with cogent explanation.
“Don’t Make Me Work so Hard!”
Are your donors wearing themselves out trying to get in touch with you? Have you made your email address available on every email and hardcopy communication you have sent them? Have you chosen a URL for your planned giving website that are easy-to-remember and self-explanatory? (Like YourInstitutionGiving.Com, or SupportOurMission.Org.) How about your phone number? Are you forcing prospects to use the company directory? Bad idea. Don’t forget to include your extension!
“Don’t Make Me Come to You!”
There’s no overstating the value of the personal visits you make to your prospects. Besides being a source of pleasant social interaction for elderly individuals, the personal visit shows your respect for the donor and her wishes, as well as your commitment to making the gift happen. Personal visits also enable you to deploy a more intimate and compelling salesmanship.
“Don’t Make Me Sorry I Chose to Give!”
There are many ways to disappoint a donor and it’s your business to avoid them. A major error is treating people like numbers – making a charitable gift is a major life statement and it’s critical you demonstrate respect for prospects as individuals. Disrespecting their gift because it’s not in the millions is another way to turn them way off. And they must be reassured that their gift will be put to use the way they want.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s donor relations management at its most basic and most crucial to your program’s success – and yours.