Had I joined a running club, hired a running coach, or just started running for distances longer and longer and longer, I might have had 25 or so years of doing something amazing. Or maybe I would have decided that no,the thought of long-distance running was far superior to the reality of it. Either way, I would have known, and knowing something—anything—is a great gift.
Not doing something because it is hard, or new, or unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or just different is the beginning of regret. And regret is one of those things that can positively paralyze you.
In fundraising, regret is one of the things that happens when you don’t try to set up that appointment, make that bigger ask, say yes to continuing fundraising from a distance instead of getting up close and personal.
I always surprises me how few fundraisers actually get out from behind their computers and have meaningful interactions with their donors. By meaningful I mean that they learn something new about what matters to the donor, find out what the donor hopes his or her philanthropy impacts, discover what about your organization resonates most.
These are not the kinds of things you typically learn at an event, via direct mail (snail or electronic) or via social media, which gives you the best chance, but our social media personas are generally very curated.
Daring to pick up the phone and ask for a meeting can seem daunting. Asking for that meeting so you can talk with them about their next gift is sometimes downright scary. And, as I’ve often been told, being that transparent so often leads to a no.
No! What a great response. No gives you all sorts of opportunities. If you just accept the rejection of your offer, you will have lots of regrets. Find out, is it no because the dates you suggested don’t work? Okay, what dates do?
Or is it because the last time they made a gift they felt undervalued and overlooked? Fantastic information. Accept the responsibility for failing to treat them right, and then ask a lot of questions related to what they had hoped would actually happen.
Perhaps the no is because they don’t love you enough. Yet. Amazing. Find out what you can do to make them feel more positive about you.
But what if they don’t say no? What if they say yes. Yes! I am so happy you called. Yes, I want to discuss my next gift!
See? By getting out of your comfort zone and doing something unfamiliar, you have avoided having regrets. And most likely, you have set the stage for a more fulfilling relationship with a donor who very likely will make a big difference to your organization
If you are concerned about this first meeting and making sure that it ends with no regrets, email me and ask for my “meeting planner.” It will help you to ensure that this meeting and every meeting lives up to expectations.